Guess What: Putin Is More Popular Than Ever

How It Works
July 22 2014 11:31 AM

Guess What: Putin Is More Popular Than Ever

Do I look worried?

Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

According to a new Gallup poll, Vladimir Putin is now enjoying record-high popularity with the Russian public. His approval rating now stands at 83 percent, up from a low of 54 percent last year. Meanwhile, approval of the United States and European Union has fallen to an abysmal low: 4 and 6 percent, respectively.

The poll was taken in the spring, amid violence in Ukraine and escalating Western sanctions against Moscow but before the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine last week. But it does partly explains why the incident may change the situation less than many are anticipating. Even if U.S.—and sooner or later, EU—sanctions start to have more of an impact, it’s not clear to that Putin will be blamed for it. The Russian public has a very different understanding of events in eastern Ukraine, and that includes culpability for the MH17 crash. 


I'm not sure that U.S. and European leaders hoping to alter the Russian government's behavior can count on public opinion working in their favor. The bigger concern for Putin may be reports that Russian business leaders are furious about the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, Western sanctions, and Russia’s increasingly isolated political position. So far we haven’t seen any major business or political figures publicly breaking ranks. If that starts to happen, it will be time to start talking about whether this was a game-changer.  

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.