Vladimir Putin's approval rating hits three year high as Russians back president over Ukraine

Two recent polls have placed the Russin president’s approval rating at 72 per cent - a height only dreamed of by western leaders

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The Independent Online

Russian people appear to back their government’s intervention in the Ukraine – or the state’s propaganda machine is working extremely well.

Either way, while the western politicians increasingly present Vladimir Putin as an out of touch Soviet relic, in Russia, his approval rating is at a three year high.

Further spurred on by the success of the Sochi Olympics, perhaps unsurprisingly, the state owned research centre VTsIOM placed Mr Putin’s approval rating at a staggering 71.6 per cent – up 9.7 per cent since mid-February.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval rating has reached a three-year high amid Crimea's plans to join Russia and the nation's historic triumph at the Sochi Winter Olympics,” the state run news site ria.ru explained.

The poll isn't a state pushed anomaly however – the fully independent Levada Centre matches VTsIOM’s finding, placing Putin’s approval rating at 72 per cent. 

Offering a slightly different insight into the population’s support of the Ukrainian intervention, a Levada Centre report into public opinion said (translation via Google): “The two-week, unprecedented in post-Soviet time, propaganda and disinformation campaign gave a powerful effect and mass approval of Putin's policy towards Ukraine.

“All the alternatives differ from officialdom or independent sources of information and interpretation of the events were completely disabled.”

It found that  67 per cent believe radical Ukrainian nationalist organizations are responsible for the situation in Crimea, while 63 per cent believe that the federal Russian media as a whole or in large part covering  the events taking place in Ukraine or the Crimea objectively.

Even if, as the Levada Centre suggests, propaganda has played a big part in his boost in popularity, its worthy of note that the peak of Putin’s popularity came in September 2008 - just after Russia crushed Georgia in a short war with the country over another former Soviet territory, South Ossetia. Then, Leveda put his approval rating at 88 per cent.