Despite a raging pandemic, declining real incomes, rising poverty and the so-called non-systemic opposition’s discontent with the prosecution of Alexei Navalny, the share of Russians who view their country as headed in the right direction and who had a positive view of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s performance continued to exceed the share of those who held the opposite view on these issues so far this year, according to the Levada Center’s latest batch of polling results. At the same time, the Russian president, whom 41 percent of respondents do not want to see stay on in his current role beyond 2024, had to contend with a decline in the approval of his cabinet’s work and the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, which is dominated by his loyalists, ahead of parliamentary elections this fall.
The share of Russians who think their country is headed in the right direction has held steady at 49 percent this year, while the share of those who hold the opposite view has increased from 40 percent in January 2021 to 43 percent in February, according to Russia’s most prominent independent pollster. The largest share of Russians who believed that Russia was headed in the wrong direction, 82 percent, occurred in August 1999 as separatist violence flared again in the North Caucasus. The share of Russians who thought their country was headed in the right direction was highest in December 2007, August 2014 and June 2015 (64 percent), according to Levada.
Empirically tracking sanctions’ exact impact shows that the pecuniary cost of sanctions to Russia has been larger than previously estimated, but these sanctions have had an effect on domestic politics that is not necessarily favorable to U.S. interests.
Join the University of Wisconsin's Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia (CREECA) for an online talk with Kathryn Graber, assistant professor of anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington, on mediating native belonging in Asian Russia.
Join the University of Wisconsin's Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia (CREECA) for an online talk with Sibelan Forrester, professor of modern and classical languages and Russian at Swarthmore College, on Eastern European science fiction.