Image by Kremlin.ru
Russian independent pollster Levada Center says only 16% of the Russian population approves of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, although his overall approval numbers are still sky high. The drop in popularity of the Kremlin’s overseas adventures comes off the announcement of a change in the retirement age inside Russia, which has severely hurt the president’s image.
A Levada Center poll conducted in July 2018 and published Thursday has found that 16 percent of Russian respondents support Putin’s foreign policy, down from 22 percent two years ago.
Denis Volkov, a sociologist with the Levada Center, linked the decline in public support to foreign policy fatigue about Russia’s involvement abroad.
“People say in many recent polls ‘Enough helping everyone, we need to help ourselves’,” the RBC news website quoted Volkov as saying on Thursday.
Andrei Kolesnikov with the Carnegie Moscow Center said domestic issues have come to the fore for Russians because of the government’s plans to raise the retirement age. “People have decided that military operations are less essential, and more money needs to be spent on domestic issues,” Kolesnikov told RBC, reported The Moscow Times.
Russians have had to severely tighten their belts and curb spending after the twin developments of the collapse in oil prices and the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. Social spending has been restricted over the last several years in favor of military acquisition, and operations in Syria and Ukraine. Healthcare, education, and now pensions have been effected.
Moscow only recently slowed the advance of military spending in favor of domestic priorities.
The poll was conducted across all Russian regions.