Why an economic downturn will not mean the end of Vladimir Putin

Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin topping the Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful people for a second time, a great deal of speculation still circulates amongst analysts, politicians and economists, about whether the economic deterioration of Russia will be the straw that breaks Putin’s back. This is unlikely to be the case. Vladimir Putin is both an idea and a man, and has ensured his own comfortable position in the Russian governmental system. Putin will remain in power because politically he has created a more strict style of ruling, has a huge and infiltrative network of politicians and civil servants behind him, and is arguably in full control. From a welfare point of view, social reforms have ensured better housing, health and education and thus in many cases, the population accept President Putin as a productive leader.

From a cultural point of view, Putin reminisces about the Soviet Union, a time when the nation was strong, and feared by its adversaries. Putin’s aim has always been to re-establish a sense of pride in Russian citizens, which has for so long been missing. He has no doubt achieved this. Therefore, despite a controversial ruling style, in the opinion of western society, Putin will continue to have a wide and penetrative support base.

Of course there are some people, including Russians, who do not want Putin in such an authoritative position, or in any position at all. However, the government does not want the populace to question the solidarity, security and integrity of the state. This has led to some criticism that the Russian and international society is diminished in stature, contributing to a lack of productive criticism of the government.

Putin’s approval ratings

In the Russian Federation there is a synthesis of individuals who are either loyal to Putin; are accepting because they do not want to face worse options; are grateful for the opportunities that Putin’s leadership has granted them; or have been forced into total subservience to the state. From the opposition’s point of view, these conditions often prove to have devastating effects. These form a minority though, as Putin’s popularity rating over 80% illustrates.By Phoebe Waters

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Categories: Europe

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