Verslaafd aan Poetin

MOSKOU – Als ze kijken naar de zorgwekkende koers van Rusland onder president Vladimir Poetin vragen veel buitenlandse waarnemers zich af hoe een leider die zijn land zo duidelijk naar de afgrond drijft zo populair kan blijven. Het antwoord is eenvoudig: de aanhangers van Poetin – dwz: een forse meerderheid van de Russen – zien de gevaren niet die op de loer liggen.

Volgens het onafhankelijke Levada Center is de populariteit van Poetin gestegen van 65% in januari naar 80% in maart, onmiddellijk na de Russische annexatie van de Krim. Zijn populariteit bereikte begin augustus met 87% zijn hoogtepunt, toen velen geloofden dat Rusland en Oekraïne op de drempel van een complete oorlog stonden. Hoewel zijn populariteit daarna weer is gedaald naar 84% begin september, blijft deze daling binnen de foutmarge. Met andere woorden: er is geen basis voor de bewering dat de populariteit van Poetin afneemt.

De verbazingwekkend hoge populariteit van Poetin kan zeker niet worden toegeschreven aan een positieve kijk op staatsstructuren in het algemeen. Zoals de meeste mensen wijzen de Russen bureaucratie doorgaans af. Zij geven lage cijfers aan specifieke diensten, beschouwen de meeste functionarissen als corrupt en waarderen de prestaties van de regering op de meeste gebieden op z'n best als middelmatig.

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