Russia is in the midst of a crippling financial crisis, its economy is in tatters, and it’s become an international pariah, but its citizens continue to admire their president. Vladimir Putin’s latest approval ratings are sky high, maintaining the peaks reached after it annexed part of Ukraine a year ago. According to the latest poll from Levada Center, an independent polling organization, 86% of Russians approve of their president, compared to 69% at the same time last year.
Rather than blame their president for their nation’s woes, Russians apparently applaud Putin’s defiance, and blame the West.
The last time Putin’s approval ratings spiked to these heights was in February 2008. The presidential campaign in Russia (Putin was to become prime minister) also spurred a show of strength— a clampdown on any democratic efforts (paywall). In December 2007, Time magazine named Putin “Person of The Year,” writing “A Tsar is Born.”