If one is to believe VTsIOM, Russia’s state-run polling agency, public support for Vladimir Putin has reached “” and currently stands at 89.9 percent—a figure obligingly by official television channels. “I am waiting for the day when VTsIOM puts Putin’s poll standing at 101 percent, and this, I think, will happen if not tomorrow, then the day after tomorrow,” opposition politician , commenting on the news.
Putin’s supposed “popularity” is the chief argument his apologists both inside and outside Russia use when responding to Kremlin critics. Too often, this “fact” is also accepted at face value—if with regret—by informed and unbiased commentators.
It should not be. Continue reading