Levada-Center records lower support of Putin’s foreign policy

Levada-Center records lower support of Putin’s foreign policy
Vladimir Putin Photo: Alexey Nikolsky / AP

The number of those supporting the foreign policy of the President has decreased by 6% for two years, the Levada-Center recorded. Social issues have become key for people, experts say.

Sociologists with the Levada-Center asked Russians what they like and dislike about President Vladimir Putin. In March 2016, 22% of respondents said they supported the foreign policy line of Vladimir Putin and called it an advantage of the President. In July 2018, 16% of respondents answered this way.

17% of the polled believe the President guards the state's national interests. This is 8% less than the result of the previous poll of 2016.

However, the number of Russians who called Putin a seasoned political leader has significantly grown, from 33% in 2016 to 49% in July 2018. Among other advantages of the President, 30% of the respondents mentioned "vigor and determination," 22% call Putin an eagle-eyed politician.

The number of Russians who believe that the Russian President is connected with big business has not changed, there is 17% of them, and this, as before, is the most common answer to the question "What you do not like about Vladimir Putin." Also, among the reasons for dissatisfaction, the respondents mentioned: "alien to the interests of the people" (16%) and "linked to corrupt politicians" (14%).

The Levada-Center has interviewed 1600 people aged 18 and over in 136 localities in 52 regions from July 19 to July 25, 2018. The respondents were offered a list of answers and given the opportunity to choose one or several options.

For two years, the foreign policy agenda fatigue has increased, sociologist of the Levada-Center Denis Volkov said. "In many recent polls, people say: "It is time to stop helping everyone, we need to help ourselves, let us not spend money on other countries, we would better spend it inside the country," he noted.

Most Russians perceive Russia's foreign policy in Syria and Ukraine as help to introduce order in these countries rather than military intervention, the sociologist explains. Previously, people were not that sensitive to it, but now against the background of a decrease in the real income level and an increase of the retirement age, the foreign policy starts to annoy, Volkov deems.

"If foreign policy hinders the implementation of social tasks, and the pension reform has limelight this problem, people decided that it is necessary to be less engaged in military operations and spend more money on internal issues," agrees the Head of the program Russian Domestic Policy and Political Institutions of the Carnegie Moscow Center, Andrey Kolesnikov.

According to Volkov, the results of the poll do not indicate a decline of the President's popularity. The growth of patriotism and better assessment of Putin's actions were recorded after the annexation of the Crimea from March 2014 to 2016, he recalls. But the peak of mobilization has passed, and there is a natural pullback, the expert sums up.

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