Despite the warnings of some commentators and the expectations of others, all polls conducted since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, both those controlled by the Kremlin and those which are independent, show Vladimir Putin’s standing with the Russian population rising, Ivan Rodin of Nezavisimaya Gazeta says.
That suggests that he has better read the views of his countrymen than have others and that he now has virtually a free hand to act as he likes, at least as long as his numbers stay at the stratospheric levels they have reached over the last month.
There are only three real questions left, the journalist suggests:
- How will Putin use this support?
- How will he deal with a situation in which there has also been a rise in public support for other political institutions?
- And is the current boost, like the initial enthusiasm for war in 1914, fade if the war drags on and there are more failures?
Rodin says that it is unclear how Putin will use this new level of support given the nature of his rule and the fact that his numbers have been relatively high. He speculates that the rising levels of popularity for other state institutions could prompt a decision to call elections sooner than might otherwise be the case, to boost the government’s support in the State Duma.
But he does not address the biggest question of all: is the boost in Putin’s standing something temporary or something that will last at least as long as the Crimean consensus did. On the answer to that depends not only the fate of Putin but quite likely the fate of the political system and even country he now rules.
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