Russians are feeling more indifferent towards President Vladimir Putin than at any time before the Ukraine crisis, according to independent pollster the Levada Center. …Despite military successes, Russia’s economy has been hit hard by low oil prices and disrupted trade with the West due to sanctions imposed and Russia is currently in recession, Newsweek reports:
As a result, attitudes towards Putin have changed, with just 29 percent of Russians questioned by the Levada Center describing the president as likeable. This is only a 1 percent drop since March, but it is Putin’s lowest approval rating since before the Ukraine crisis; it also represents a huge drop since 37 percent in March 2015.
“In a sense, Putin has fulfilled the tasks that were set before him, when he first came to power,” Levada Center director Lev Gudkov said, referring to the situation Putin faced when succeeding Russia’s first-ever president, Boris Yeltsin, in 2000. “He had to reform the armed forces, to resolve the war in Chechnya, and to restore the image of Russia as a world power.”
His lack of success has come in other areas, largely to do with the economy, which Gudkov thinks will be the next challenge for Putin’s administration. “I think that the dissatisfaction with the living standards, salaries and pensions will have a major impact on Putin’s approval rating in the future. The fall will be slow, the (presidential) elections in 2018 will not be affected very severely but this will change later on,” Gudkov said.