Nearly Two-Thirds of Russians Say Putin Responsible for Problems in Their Country, Levada Center Poll Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 22, 2018)

Sixty-one percent of Russians polled by the Levada Center say that Vladimir Putin is responsible for the problems Russia now faces, up from 55 percent a year ago and the highest figure since such questions began to be asked a decade ago in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.

An additional 22 percent say that Putin is at least in part responsible for the problems, and taken together that means 83 percent of Russians now blame him in whole or in part for Russia’s current difficulties, a figure remarkably close to the 86 percent the Kremlin has long claimed support him (levada.ru/2018/11/22/19281/).

Only ten percent say that the Kremlin leader has done all he can and that if his efforts have not been enough, it is because of the corrupt bureaucracy, while another six percent say he has acted entirely correctly but has been defeated by objective realities in Russia and the world today (levada.ru/2018/11/22/19281/).

These findings have triggered a variety of commentaries, some alarmist, others not. But the overall tone is captured by one on the Newsru portal. It simply declares that Putin “is ceasing to be the good tsar surrounded by bad boyars,” a fundamental shift in Russian public opinion (newsru.com/russia/22nov2018/responsible.html).

[Article also appeared at windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/11/nearly-two-thirds-of-russians-say-putin.html]