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« RUSSIA'S STEPPED UP ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHT AND ITS IMPLICATIONS | Main | RUSSIA AT YEAR'S END - STUCK IN GEAR BUT POISED FOR CHANGE? »

November 29, 2012

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R.C.

Putin's approval rating is at 63% according to Levada. How by any measure is this "bad?" Does any western leader in the world have an approval rating this high?

Patrick Armstrong

I didn't say it was "bad" I just said it was slipping.
But both P&M are at a point today that most Western leaders would sell their mothers into slavery to get to.

Alexander Mercouris

Dear Patrick,

A masterly survey as always.

On the subject of Putin's popularity, it seems to me that at 63% it is almost exactly where it was at the time of the Presidential election in March. Putin's popularity goes up and down but overall he seems to have a pretty solid base of support and one that no other politician in Russia can remotely hope to match. Frankly I have some difficulty understanding Levada's interpretation of its own numbers.

As for Medvedev's popularity, it has fallen but this is totally unsurprising. It is a mistake to speak any more of a Tandem. That made sense when Medvedev was President. With Putin's return to the Presidency Medvedev is definitely the subordinate and his popularity has accordingly suffered.

On the subject of the corruption scandals, it will be fascinating to see where this will go. Given that Serdyukov apparently authorised some or even all of the corrupt transactions it seems to me that a case could be brought against him for negligence and breach of his fiduciary duty as a minister even if he was simply a dupe. We will see whether anything like that happens. In the meantime the fact that his girlfriend seems to have been heavily implicated in the corrupt transactions is not going to help him.

Lastly, I am sure you have noticed the drumbeat of criticism directed at the new Georgian government for the prosecutions it is bringing. There's even been lurid talk of a witch hunt whilst supposedly levels of outside investment in Georgia are sharply down. I agree that the investigation into the death of Zhvania is potentially explosive. I suspect the new government is in for a rough ride and as you rightly imply we could be looking at storms ahead.

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