August 21, 2014

Putin's Public Opinion Problem

Thomas Sherlock, The National Interest

The Associated Press

Russian public opinion is far more likely in the near term to shape the behavior of the Kremlin than the new, tough sanctions against Russia—but not in ways that most would expect. To be sure, the great majority of Russians blame America for provoking the current conflict in Ukraine, and anti-American feeling is now at its highest point in the post-Soviet period. Such attitudes are partly the result of a powerful burst of pent-up nationalist grievance—rooted in the trauma of the Soviet collapse and its aftermath, and aggravated by American unilateralism in the post-Soviet era. As for popular support for Vladimir Putin, the crisis has boosted his personal ratings in August to 87 percent (Barack Obama’s are at 40 percent). Yet, counterintuitively, these numbers do not...

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TAGGED: Ukraine, Europe, Russia, Vladimir Putin

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