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Poll Shows Putin’s Popularity is Sagging as Protests Continue

Poll Shows Putin’s Popularity is Sagging as Protests Continue

An independent pollster, the Levada Center, conducted a new survey on the way Russian President Vladimir Putin is perceived. As the Moscow Times points out, “Putin’s attractiveness to the public is not only shrinking, but the damage is irreversible.” The poll, conducted on May 15, showed that the belief in characteristics such as his business-like demeanor and well-educated background have dropped considerably since 2000.

The most striking drop in numbers regarded his demeanor as “pleasant and charming,” which dropped to a low of 7 percent according to the poll. 89 percent of those polled believe that Putin is guilty of abuse of power. An entire image overhaul would be necessary for Putin to overcome these drastic drops in approval ratings, and even this strategy, given his many years in public office under the same guise, would have unpredictable success.

The drop in numbers comes on the heels of Putin’s reelection to the presidential seat back in March, which has fomented large gatherings and protests on a regular basis over the last few months. On the eve of his inauguration, as many as 100,000 protesters were said to have gathered in response to the beginning of his new six year term. Violence broke out between the police and the crowd, and perhaps 400 people were arrested, including the central organizers of the protests.

Protesters have continued their marches through the streets over the last few weeks as Putin has settled back into his position of power. Using many of the same tactics as the Occupy Wall Street movement, many activists have camped overnight in squares throughout the city. Most recently, protesters were flushed out of the Chistoprudny Bulvar area on Wednesday after residents supposedly complained.

The movement is facing fewer and fewer options for gathering and protesting in safety as the police continue to flush them out of every available public space in Moscow. According to the Moscow Times, protesters have moved to another area of town and are hoping deputies of the area deem the meeting of people as a street festival in order to avoid arrest and dispersion.

The continued popular unrest and the tainted image of Vladimir Putin have dominated headlines pertaining to Russia over the last few months and have even affected foreign investments in Russia. Capital flight reached $42 billion dollars since the beginning of the year. The reasoning behind such vast capital flight is directly linked to the unrest in the area. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “While foreign companies already in Russia are familiar with the risks, those who are considering whether to invest are concerned about political stability and economic predictability.”

The political unrest surrounding Putin’s return to power, despite his claims for democratic processes and reforms aimed at better government, will continue throughout the coming weeks. Lawmakers are threatening to raise the fine for protesting to a staggering 500,000 rubles ($16,100 approximately), up from a mere 2,000 rubles before. This new fine is a clear attack on the current disapproval of the government, and contrary to the democratic processes Putin claims he supports. His continued negative image and his refusal to attend the G8 summit this week also herald tense international relations with the rest of Europe and the United States.

Related Stories:

Thousands of Russians Protest on Eve of Putin’s Inauguration

Russian Anti-Putin Movement Seeks New Momentum

Putin Reelected (Again): Will Russians Still Be Able to Protest?

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Photo Credit: Cherie A. Thurlby

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11:51AM PDT on May 24, 2012

Sorry for my english ...
After the murder of the king and the overthrow of the monarchy in Russia, the persecution of intellectuals, the country has fallen: came to power uneducated people (so there are names with errors in spelling - the people in power could not properly write the name! - What to say about the other...). For a long time, people in the Soviet era were afraid to talk about those days: in fact, people do not like any revolution, every farmer was satisfied with his life and knew that it would be bread for today and tomorrow, and after the revolution, the peasants did not know where to go, do not knew where to get a piece of bread. For Russia, requires strict mode (totalitarianism, so to speak). It was for many centuries: the heavy hand of the king without the people went idle. If Lenin had never existed, Russia would now be one of the great powers in the world. So do not say that infringe on people - they go unchecked for a few ideas of educated people who have their own goals in the Kremlin, it is my view on everything.

12:32PM PDT on May 22, 2012

Why does it feel like this site is made out of homos and russophobes? Putin knows what he's doing, and he has the majority's support not only in Russia, but also in CIS, as well as a number of other European countries and Asia. He is indeed going to expand the Russian "empire" in terms of economy and military, but that was only to be expected. The anti-Putin protests in Moscow are organized by the same people who enjoyed selling off Russian property and land to foreign companies for chicken feed prices back in the 90s. Not to mention their ties back then with terrorist groups. And those who follow them are Muscovites(omg!), you have to know Russia to understand how distant Moscow and its citizens are from reality. Putin, firstly, got rid of foreign influence, and secondly, got rid of the country's debts. Russia was the only country to survive through the global financial crisis as if nothin' even happened. His next target is the Eurasian union and a multipolar world order, and both of those goals seem to be gaining momentum, thus, the only remaining thing the west can do now is whine about it, and cry how big of a dictator he is, and how unhappy Russians are under his tyranny.

12:32PM PDT on May 22, 2012

Why does it feel like this site is made out of homos and russophobes? Putin knows what he's doing, and he has the majority's support not only in Russia, but also in CIS, as well as a number of other European countries and Asia. He is indeed going to expand the Russian "empire" in terms of economy and military, but that was only to be expected. The anti-Putin protests in Moscow are organized by the same people who enjoyed selling off Russian property and land to foreign companies for chicken feed prices back in the 90s. Not to mention their ties back then with terrorist groups. And those who follow them are Muscovites(omg!), you have to know Russia to understand how distant Moscow and its citizens are from reality. Putin, firstly, got rid of foreign influence, and secondly, got rid of the country's debts. Russia was the only country to survive through the global financial crisis as if nothin' even happened. His next target is the Eurasian union and a multipolar world order, and both of those goals seem to be gaining momentum, thus, the only remaining thing the west can do now is whine about it, and cry how big of a dictator he is, and how unhappy Russians are under his tyranny.

3:13AM PDT on May 21, 2012

Thanks.

8:01PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Carl O.--What Bush saw in Putin's eyes was a reflection of his own soul. Both are black, but probably not as black and Cheney's.

7:05PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Looks like the little man is getting littler!!

4:55PM PDT on May 20, 2012

thanks

4:08PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Look at this face! The perfect picture of happiness...

2:53PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Putin's image may be sagging, but this is who they elected -again.
Russian mentality has not advanced over the differences between a president and a premier. Putin unquestionably wants to be a premier, the Russian people have yet to understand they had a choice not to re-elect Putin.

1:23PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

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