Putin’s Approval in Russia Soars to Record, America’s Plunges to Near Zero

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter   www.wolfstreet.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter

Don’t let a good crisis go to waste – that appears to be the newest slogan of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as his approval rating in Russia soared from 54% a year ago to 83% now, matching the record of the data series in 2008, when he switched roles to become Prime Minister. The rating was, as Gallup put it, “likely propelled by a groundswell of national pride with the annexation of Crimea in March on the heels of the Sochi Olympic Games in February.”

By contrast, President Obama’s job approval rating in the US, according to Gallup’s daily tracker, languishes at a miserable 42%. Bad, but still head and shoulders above the most despised tax-and-retreat French President of the Fifth Republic, François Hollande, whose approval rating has finally stopped plunging once it got to about 20%.

But it’s not just Putin

Russian’s confidence in their military jumped to an all-time record of 78%, up from 65% a year ago, wowed perhaps by the military’s awe-inspiring performance in the Crimean debacle.

Confidence in the Russian government skyrocketed from 39% in 2013 to 64% now. And that at a time when the US Congress is mired down in a well-deserved or perhaps too generous job approval rating of 15% by the hapless American voters who just can’t seem to figure out how to throw the rascals out.

The crisis also has given the Russian government a boost overall: 73% of Russians believe their government is leading them in the right direction, a majority for the first time since 2008, when Putin left the presidency. Russians really do have confidence in him, and they miss him when he’s gone. Yet, their economic outlook, while up, remains crummy: only 35% see conditions getting better, but 19% see them deteriorating.

And even Russians’ confidence in the elections has soared, albeit from an abysmal 23% in 2013 to a somewhat less abysmal 39%. That’s more than double the terrible level of 2006 and 2007, during Putin’s first reign, when only 17% of the Russian were confident in the honesty of their elections. Well, OK, honest or not, but at least they got their Putin back.

Here is Putin’s all-around triumphant chart, where everything has soared since last year:


And what do Russians think about America?

Man! First the good news. For China, that is. The $400 billion holy-grail natural gas deal Russia inked with China, with money flowing one way and gas the other, and all the hope and hype that came along with it have endeared China to the Russians. Their approval rating of China jumped on cue, from 25% last year to 42% now. The fact that China had Russia in a vice when the final touches were put on the deal and was thus able to extract pricing that would be good only for China has been lost somewhat in the shuffle at home. But hey.

Instead of offering Russia some kind of holy-grail deal on energy, the EU and the US have engineered an ingenious sanction spiral that so far has done wonders. In return, Russians’ approval of the EU swooned from 21% to 6%, and of America from the already awful 16% to 4% (not a typo). The diametrically opposed movement of China and the US looks terrible:


But it might even be worse: Given the survey’s margin of error of ± 2.7 percentage points (at a 95% confidence level), the approval rating could actually be as low as 1.3%. That’s as close to zero as you can get in a survey!

So if our local heroes, Obama and Congress, with their phenomenally well-thought-out reactions to the fiasco in the Ukraine, are trying to win the hearts and minds of the Russian people so that they could apply some pressure on Putin (LOL), they have abysmally failed. And in regards to his standing in his country, Putin is once again grinning his wicket triumphant smile. So far for him – at least through the period when the survey was conducted – the crisis has been a flawless success.

Capital flight, particularly from the vast underground economy, is Russia’s most pressing economic problem. And Putin’s angle of attack has been, well, brutal in its own way. Read…. Sanction Spiral Hits London, Plays Into Putin’s Master Plan

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oudinot's picture

If Amerika truly home of brave,  brave would have strung up Supreme Court Justices, banksters, NSA pervs and every Fed member.

Maybe brave on holiday, fishing, asleep  or watching TV.  When brave wake up sure I am that they will start working.

Serious thinsg need get done.


joethegorilla's picture

Then go live in Russia you punk.

U4 eee aaa's picture

So if he starts lobbing nukes will his opinion rating go to 120%?

strannick's picture

Wolf Richter on ZH? He's who we come here to escape from.

Funny his "don't let a good crises go to waste" comes from fellow Zionist and Obama hack, Rahm Emmanuel

He also pretends to know the pricing of oil in the Rus-China deal. Plz share.

orangegeek's picture

only in russia can a passenger jet get shot down where 300 are murdered and the one responsible is more popular than ever



oudinot's picture

The plane was shot down in the Ukraine,not Russia,  moron.

And why would Putin have an international passenger plane shut down?  What advantage would that act give the man?


joethegorilla's picture

The plane was shot down in territory controlled by Russians you punk.

TrulyStupid's picture

You obviously haven't let any facts or lack thereof temper your opinion...or rather the opinion put in your unresisting head by the neo-con propaganda machine. Here's a more measured view, by a more reliable commentator:




joethegorilla's picture

So Ron Paul says it could have been Russia or Ukraine and it was a Russian Weapon. So what is all this neo-con propaganda talk from you?

luftmensch's picture

Hi Truly Stupid, is your reference to the Kremlin owned RT article as "reliable" supposed to be ironic or are you a nasty nashibot troll?

TrulyStupid's picture

You might pause to reflect on why RT is the only news source carrying Ron Paul's commentary. Lets roll out the hate for RT in hopes to deflect the impact of Ron Paul's commentary.

orangegeek's picture

here's what happened:


a commercial flight flew over the Ukraine and was shot down by Russia


aside from this repugnant act, it's the russian no-minds that love Putin for doing this


that's what makes this more vile than the act itself

Longarm's picture

Opinions are like assh@les, everybody's got one.

IndianaJohn's picture

Butt, neither my opinions nor anus stinks.

JR's picture

The rating (Putin’s) was, as Gallup put it, “likely propelled by a groundswell of national pride with the annexation of Crimea in March on the heels of the Sochi Olympic Games in February."

And the pollster makes a political statement out of it and that’s why you hate these pollsters. If they did have honest numbers, which they don’t, they just can’t help using their liberal bias to tell you what they mean.

This isn’t love for Putin, this is admiration for a leader who is a patriot; Putin has demonstrated that everything he says or does in public is aimed at respecting the Russian people and advancing their interest. This is a substantial contrast with the leaders of Britain, France and the US who are barely qualified to do their jobs yet are openly divisive and, frankly, in those three instances, immoral and acting against the sovereignty and interests of their own people.

Putin is gaining the respect of peoples around the world for his statesmanship and calm voice for peace. It is apparent that Putin is desconstructing the USSR, while the latter are reconstituting a USSA. IOW, they accuse Putin of what they do.

As for the Russian people, Sharon Tennison, president and founder of the Center for Citizen Initiatives, wrote in May of this year:

I’ve traveled throughout Russia several times every year, and have watched the country slowly change under Putin’s watch (since December 1999). Taxes were lowered, inflation lessened, and laws slowly put in place. Schools and hospitals began improving. Small businesses were growing, agriculture was showing improvement, and stores were becoming stocked with food.

“Alcohol challenges were less obvious, smoking was banned from buildings, and life expectancy began increasing. Highways were being laid across the country, new rails and modern trains appeared even in far out places, and the banking industry was becoming dependable. Russia was beginning to look like a decent country –– certainly not where Russians hoped it to be long term, but improving incrementally for the first time in their memories.

“My 2013/14 Trips to Russia: In addition to St.Petersburg and Moscow, in September I traveled out to the Ural Mountains, spent time in Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Perm. We traveled between cities via autos and rail––the fields and forests look healthy, small towns sport new paint and construction. Today’s Russians look like Americans (we get the same clothing from China). Old concrete Khrushchev block houses are giving way to new multi-story private residential complexes which are lovely. High-rise business centers, fine hotels and great restaurants are now common place––and ordinary Russians frequent these places. Two and three story private homes rim these Russian cities far from Moscow.

“We visited new museums, municipal buildings and huge super markets. Streets are in good repair, highways are new and well marked now, service stations looks like those dotting American highways. In January I went to Novosibirsk out in Siberia where similar new architecture was noted. Streets were kept navigable with constant snowplowing, modern lighting kept the city bright all night, lots of new traffic lights (with seconds counting down to light change) have appeared. It is astounding to me how much progress Russia has made in the past 14 years since an unknown man with no experience walked into Russia’s presidency and took over a country that was flat on its belly.

“So why do our leaders and media demean and demonize Putin and Russia??? …

“There is a well known code of ethics among us: Is it the Truth, Is it Fair, Does it build Friendship and Goodwill, and Will it be Beneficial for All Concerned?

“It seems to me that if our nation’s leaders would commit to using these four principles in international relations, the world would operate in a completely different manner, and human beings across this planet would live in better conditions than they do today.”


luftmensch's picture

I'm sure their love for Putin has nothing to do with no freedom of press, jailing and physical attacks on any dissenters (including 20 year old pop stars singing songs), criminalizing all forms of protest, jailing and heavily fining anyone who attends any protest, seizing the Russian Facebook (VKontakt), and employing armies of internet writers to spread disinformation.

That said, Russians are scared of chaos, and out of fear, many of them feel a "strong leader" is better than an instable government.


HardAssets's picture

in contrast, O said this was no time for propaganda, and then immediately spewed accusations with no supporting evidence. The only reason he has as high as a 42% rating, must be that half the American public has a 99% Stupidity Rating

Boubou's picture

US belligerence has got us back into a cold war standoff which we didn't need. We didn't need it but it seems our leaders did. I have no faith whatever that US wishes to have a mutually respectful and even handed relationship with any other country. They want to dominate throught threats, disinformation, demonization, economic warfare  and if necessary bombing from a great height.

joethegorilla's picture

So Russia invades Crimea and shoots down a Malaysian plane and the US is belligerent?

Am I missing something here?

ZeroAffect's picture

Good post JR. Putin is a Nationalist, not a Communist or Socialist. He respects the Russian people and he actively advances the interests of the Russian people. Those characteristics are in stark contrast to the leaders of the West who seek to undermine the traditions of their population through immigration policy and over-regulation of business so that only the Corporatocracy and Technocrats can exist and profit.

Thanks for sharing Sharon Tennison's observations of her travels through Russia, a nation that was torn apart by misguided fools trying to achieve the unreachable communist ideals. In a sense, her observations along with some of your beliefs could make one believe, in a sense, that Putin is making a determined effort to turn the tide of history, to turn the tables on the west, which seems to have embraced the unrealistic ideals of a hybrid ideology that is melding together the worst aspects of the tyranny of the Communists and Socialists.

All that said, Putin is not a 'nice guy', but he is the sort of person needed at this time in history to will barge ahead and be the sort of ruthless leader needed to lift the Russian people out of the quagmire the Soviets led them into. For instance, the Cypriot banking scandal comes to mind. Putin did nothing to help the Russian Oligarchs maintain their ill-gotten wealth from the jaws of the western Banksters when the banks in Cyprus were savaged, or allowed to fail. Those Oligarchs had sent their wealth off-shore and out of the reach of the taxes they rightly owed. And, of course, that is another battle that Putin is fighting to win, which is to force the underground Russian economy to the surface.

Oh well, books could and probably will be written on the topics above. Anyways, good post, thanks!

Paveway IV's picture

Couldn't agree more, ZA.

"...Putin is not a 'nice guy', but he is the sort of person needed at this time in history..."

I would go further than that and say he seems exactly like what the Russian people needed the last decade and even moreso today. I'm nobody to speak for the Russian people, though. As far as my fellow Americans, I can only offer that a tired and weak Russia unable or unwilling to counter U.S. government arrogance - that lack of balance - was a far greater threat to mankind than anything I ever saw during the cold war.

The U.S. government has sunken to the level of the Israel government, ruling by methods of a common, two-bit street pimp: control everyone by making everyone around you weaker than you, make them utterly dependent on you or at least make sure they owe you lots of money. It's time for the U.S. government to stop acting like a global street pimp. The U.S. citizens are unable or unwilling to make that happen by themselves because the laws and voting are too thouroughly rigged.

The U.S. will never be strong again, nor will americans will never have the possibility of controlling their own government again without plenty of other strong nations of equally strong people out there. The world can't wait for a perfect Russia - it needs a strong Russia.

kurt's picture

Approval Ratings

As if something could be done about it or because of it, faaa!

AdvancingTime's picture

 In reality America has few military options in Russia's backyard unless it has the backing of a full and enthusiastic NATO and that is very unlikely. Europe has reason to be unexcited about a possible long and expensive conflict. While still trying to recover from a recession Europe would face fuel shortages and a massive spike in the price of natural gas. 

Currently Russia supplies much of the gas used in Europe, this gives Putin a great deal of leverage. If an actual ground attack were to occur few see the Russians as likely to rollover as other armies have when America approaches. More on this subject in the article below.



disabledvet's picture

It is Europe that is plunging America into war with Russia...and yes "Putin is the clear winner" politically.

Rather than make Putin the enemy this Administration has made all of Russia the enemy (sanctions regime)...so of course they loathe us...the sad truth being the USA needs all the economic friends it can get right now.

I will say this...the 'Mercian military is a coiled snake and I would not underestimate it should The Flag suddenly get unfurled here.

The folks running this show have brought the USA to the brink of probably the greatest conflagration that could possibly be imagined. The irony of course is that there is no problem generating wealth creation...meaning this is a rather odd time for going all in on World War Z.

I see absolutely zero peace options on the table from anyone...anywhere.

basho's picture

"It is Europe that is plunging America into war with Russia"


then the ussa should get out of europe.

basho's picture

"It is Europe that is plunging America into war with Russia"


then the ussa should get out of europe.

rsnoble's picture

42%? Probably rigged.

JamesBond's picture

All this AND a Russian Love Match Lnk as the top banner.  




dexter_morgan's picture


"The difficulty in understanding the Russian is that we do not take cognizance of the fact that he is not a European, but an Asiatic, and therefore thinks deviously. We can no more understand a Russian than a Chinese or a Japanese, and from what I have seen of them, I have no particular desire to understand them except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other amiable characteristics, the Russian has no regard for human life and they are all out sons-of-bitches, barbarians, and chronic drunks."
~ statement made on August 8, 1945 and quoted in General Patton : A Soldier’s Life by Stanley P. Hirshson, p. 650

While not an astute observer of humankind, he WAS exceptional at killing people and breaking things.

JR's picture

One wonders what your motive was for eliminating Patton’s favorable comparison of the Germans vs. versus Stalin’s Bolsheviks immediately prior to the quotation you used (see below).

“Without the Americans,” i.e., FDR at Yalta alongside the man, Marshal Stalin, a major chunk of Eastern Europe would not have been doomed to despotic slavery and human butchery, imprisoned and forgotten behind an iron curtain with the blessings of the U.S. government.  

"Germany has always been the pawn." --General George S. Patton

After a visit to ruined Berlin, General Patton wrote his wife on July 21, 1945: "Berlin gave me the blues. We have destroyed what could have been a good race, and we are about to replace them with Mongolian savages. And all Europe will be communist. It's said that for the first week after they took it (Berlin), all women who ran were shot and those who did not were raped. I could have taken it (instead of the Soviets) had I been allowed."

His diary entry for August 18 quotes French Gen. Alphonse Juin: "It is indeed unfortunate, mon General, that the English and the Americans have destroyed in Europe the only sound country -- and I do not mean France. Therefore, the road is now open for the advent of Russian communism."

On August 31 he wrote: "Actually, the Germans are the only decent people left in Europe. It's a choice between them and the Russians. I prefer the Germans." And on September 2: "What we are doing is to destroy the only semi-modern state in Europe, so that Russia can swallow the whole."

http://thy-weapon-of-war.blogspot.com/2008/12/george-pattons-change-of-h...   (blog has been removed)

As for your quote (expanded below), you must remember the environment in which Patton was fighting, culminating in an estimated 48,231,700 war dead. Had it not been for Patton’s tactical genius in tank warfare, culminating in his 3rd Army sweep across France in the summer in 1944, that total would be worse. And, even then, FDR and Truman handed Eastern Europe over to Stalin.

"Several months before the end of the war, General Patton had recognized the fearful danger to the West posed by the Soviet Union, and he had disagreed bitterly with the orders which he had been given to hold back his army and wait for the Red Army to occupy vast stretches of German, Czech, Rumanian, Hungarian, and Yugoslav territory, which the Americans could have easily taken instead."

Thus,  Patton's understanding of the true situation grew and his opinions changed and with them his apprehensions for the future...

General George Smith Patton Quote:

I believe that Germany should not be destroyed, but rather should be re-built as a buffer against the real danger, which is Russia and its bolshevism.

The difficulty in understanding the Russian is that we do not take cognizance of the fact that he is not a European, but an Asiatic, and therefore thinks deviously. We can no more understand a Russian than a Chinese or a Japanese, and from what I have seen of them, I have no particular desire to understand them except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other amiable characteristics, the Russian has no regard for human life and they are all out sons-of-bitches, barbarians, and chronic drunks.

Russia KNOWS what she wants. WORLD DOMINATION. And she is laying her plans accordingly.
We, on the other hand, and England and France to a lesser extent, don't know what we want. We get less than nothing as a result. If we have to fight them, now is the time. From now on, we will get weaker and they will get stronger. Let's keep out boots polished, bayonets sharpened, and present a picture of force and strength to the Russians. This is the only language that they understand and respect. If we fail to do this, then I would like to say that we have had a victory over the Germans, and have disarmed them, but we have lost the war

The one thing that I could not say, and cannot yet say publicly, is that my chief interest in establishing order in Germany was to prevent Germany from going communist. I am afraid that our foolish and utterly stupid policy in regard to Germany will certainly cause them to join the Russians and thereby insure a communistic state throughout Western Europe. We have destroyed what could have been a good race of people and we are about to replace them with Mongolian savages and all of Europe with communism.

Poland is under Russian domination, so is Hungary, so is Czechoslovakia, and so is Yugoslavia; and we sit happily by and think that everybody loves us. It seems likely to me that Russia has a certain sphere of influence in Korea, Manchuria, and Mongolia.

We promised the Europeans freedom. It would be worse than dishonorable not to see that they have it.
This might mean war with the Russians, but what of it? They have no Air Force, and their gasoline and ammunition supplies are low. I've seen their miserable supply trains; mostly wagons drawn by beaten up old horses or oxen. I'll say this; the Third Army alone and with damned few casualties, could lick what is left of the Russians in six weeks. You mark my words. Don't ever forget them. Someday we will have to fight them and it will take six years and cost us six million lives.

The Russians are Mongols. They are Slavs and a lot of them used to be ruled by Ancient Byzantium. From Genghis Kahn to Stalin, they have not changed. They never will, and we will never learn, at least, not until it is too late.

I am very much afraid that Europe is going Bolshevik. If it does, it may eventually spread to our country.

The too often repeated remark that "the country owes me a living" is nothing short of treason. The nation owes all of its citizens an EQUAL chance, but it is not responsible for the faults and follies of those who fail to avail themselves of these opportunities.

Do not talk or think of your rights or your fatigues or of what the other fellow has failed to do. War is the struggle of nations; you are in it, but as an individual, and your feelings as such do not exit. In doing your utmost, even unto death, you are conferring no favor. You are privileged to be able to do so much for your country.

joethegorilla's picture

There is no such thing as a weak country with 70,000 nuclear warheads and the best delivery system in the world. The USA will ALWAYS be strong.

HardAssets's picture

Gen Patton didn't live long enough to learn that the same interests who financed the Nazis, also helped the Communists come to power in the USSR. If he'd had such knowledge, many of the decisions that were puzzling to him would have been understood.

joethegorilla's picture

General Patten would have hated you.


US Army PSYOPS are the goofs that attempt to 'win hearts and minds'

and the failures are all their IMHO. O'Bummer is merely their meat

puppet or Muppet whichever you prefer but O'Bummer is just a fucking stooge of the POLICE STATE and their minions. There is a massive propaganda campaign being waged yet this is not highlighted hardly anywhere because everyone in contemporary media is reading from the same God damned script. Even Z/H is looking weak on originality over the last couple of days compared to weeks previous. In brief, whenever our local radio propagandist brings his favorite American Military Propagandist to CANADA for a radio interview, I start taking a closer look at the content of Western media only to find that there is serious repitition going on all over the country. The Americans are really pushing this recent downing of the passenger plane over Ukraine and when one steps back and thinks a little they claim that the investigation is securing the evidence surrounding the event. I'm immediately taken back to the lack of investigation for the bombing of the World Trade Centers in New York. Where was the investigation of the steel beams that were cut with thermite? How about all those Mechanical Engineers that testified online with regard to the lack of appropriate investigation of the site and the evidence? American media is full of shit on the Ukraine too. Wake the fuck up America.

lakecity55's picture

Backdoor Barry is a stooge for splooge.

willwork4food's picture

Many of us have. Be patient. It takes time to help those entrapped in .gov PC speech not to get nervous.

grekko's picture

USA Political Gridlock?  Bad polls on the Gov?  It is just part of the elite plan before we are railroaded into the North American Union.  Out of chaos, order.

Canucklehead's picture

Who in their right mind is going to answer "No" to an unsolicited telephone call in Russia asking them if they support Putin?

Savyindallas's picture

Bullshit  -They have far less fear than I do - I KNOW the NSA is litening to my reponse.

Urban Redneck's picture

Who in their right mind is going to answer "No" to an unsolicited telephone call in USSA asking them if they support Obama?

It's a fact that the State is storing the calls, and can mine the data when needed for to suit the State's needs. So it actually takes a special of "stupid" or self-delusion to do that in the US.

doctor10's picture

suspect 'approval" of Putin in USA easily exceeds that of 'Bammy

novictim's picture

Russians approve of Putin?  How would anyone really know that.  How do we know that the rank and file Russian on the streets of Moscow does not feel shame for the shooting down of this civilian Airliner?  

We don't.

The Russian media is no longer free to print truths troubling to the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, you Russian nationalist here under your menagerie of assumed aliases have to be wondering whether your own actions as pro-Putin propagandists are traitorous to the interests of real Russian patriotism.  If you really care about Russia and the future of your state then fight against the totalitarian state Putin is imposing. 


Aussiekiwi's picture

" If you really care about the US and the future of your state then fight against the totalitarian state Obama is imposing."

Theer, fixd it for you.  


dexter_morgan's picture

Yeah, fight against it and for the totalitarian state being pushed on us?

Savyindallas's picture

I DO know that russian nationals living here in America  -most american citizens  -love Putin. can you blame them?  He is a russian Nationalist. All our politicians, the media and Wall Street serve the Internationlist globalists.

luftmensch's picture

Russian expats may like Putin, but they certainly don't want to live in Russia.

Many of them get most of their information from Russian-language online news sources...and still have the habit of agreeing with the government, it may be almost genetically built into Russians at this point as if you didn't have that gene you pretty much got killed, beat, harassed, or sent to the gulag.

This is a country that was so well enjoyed by its citizens a few years ago, that it was a major crime to try to leave the country...

Moccasin's picture

When our American government is so dishonest and feeble the public gets it, we understand that our gov is predicated on lies and violence. Putin can almost do no wrong in comparison. I seriously think that our American 'true believers', those amongst us with the flag wrapped too tight around their heads are complete narcissists and things will go badly sooner than later. Citizens who have never thought critically about our wayward Republic will eventually break into a narcissist rage. That is when things will get entertaining and dangerous, they will find themselves unprepared for the 'new normal'. Island North America vs the rest of the world is not where I want to be.

Boubou's picture

How many military based abroad does the USA have?

How many Russian?


Who is the world dominator?