Perspective | Putin?s power depends on his popularity. That makes him vulnerable.


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Positivity     37.00%   
   Negativity   63.00%
The New York Times
SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/putins-power-depends-on-his-popularity-that-makes-him-vulnerable/2019/08/27/c5e0cf1a-b4a2-11e9-8e94-71a35969e4d8_story.html
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Summary

To say that Putin’s popularity matters to his ability to rule is not to say that Russia is democratic, but the fact that his power relies in large part on the participation of ordinary Russians might offer some hope to reformers: Popularity can fade, meaning Putin’s grip is more tenuous than it seems. Should he falter in his constant campaign to maintain support, then Putin’s control over the elites and the whole structure of power could come apart.In general, public opinion plays an underappreciated role in Russian politics. Putin’s power comes not from an ability to impose his will on an oppressed public; rather, our research suggests, it is built jointly — co-constructed — with tens of millions of ordinary Russian citizens. Indeed, we find — using personality profiles — that the biggest supporters of Putin’s agenda are not conservative Russians but instead people who are highly “agreeable”: basically nice people who care a lot about getting on with others and not causing offense. The boost in public support and in popular affection that Putin gained from Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 is wearing off, as the realities of a decade of economic stagnation — and five years of declining real incomes — start to erode support.

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