Vladimir Putin, Slipping Badly on the Neo-Soviet Ice
Our issue today carries three different items from the mainstream Western press documenting chapter and verse how the Putin regime is collapsing from within because of its own failure, exactly as the USSR did not so long ago. And, hearteningly, it seems Russians are finally getting the message too.
A recent public opinion poll taken by the Levada Center indicates that for the first time since his earliest days in power Vladimir Putin’s approval in public opinion polls has slipped below 60%. 41% of Russians have lost their belief that Putin is doing or will do a good job in managing the affairs of state. Putin’s approval rating has fallen four points or six percent from one year ago.
And there’s more to this watershed event than meets the eye.
Reuters reports: “Levada polled a sample of 1,600 people between July 23-26 for the survey, which had a margin of error of 3.4 percent. The poll was published on Thursday but was taken before Russia’s recent catastrophic wildfires.”
That’s right: These results came before Putin’s catastrophic failure to manage the nation’s fire safety preparations was revealed. For all we know, Putin has already dropped below 50% job approval.
The last time that happened, in the wake of Putin’s bloody campaign in Chechnya, an onslaught of murders and arrests of opposition figures took place (Yuri Shchekochikhin, Mikhail Trepashkin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky all in the space of a few months).
Even some Russophiles are disgusted by Putin’s antics. Writing in the Moscow Times, Alexei Pankin is forced to admit:
Putin heavily missed the mark this time. In his answer to the blogger, Putin wrote: “At the end of the workday, breathing in the smoke from the burning fires like all Muscovites are doing, I — with great interest and pleasure — acquainted myself with your evaluation of the situation.”
For Putin to draw any parallel between the daily condition of villagers and that in which he lives would be like telling people who are caught in the endless traffic jams caused by government motorcades: “Hey, I feel your frustration. I drive on the same streets as you do.”
The other misfire was when Putin carried out a cheap PR stunt by co-piloting an airplane and personally dousing two wildfires in the Ryazan region. Who was he trying to fool? It seems that after 10 years in power, Putin has lost touch with the so-called “Putin majority.” This may be the reason why polls by the Public Opinion Fund and VTsIOM have shown a sharp decline in his ratings this past week.
Ouch. With every day that passes, Putin stands more and more naked and alone, like the infamous Emperor and his “new clothes.”