The Western economic sanctions might have dragged Russian economy into recession. The ruble might have lost almost 30% of its value against the dollar. But 65% Russians are convinced that Russia is a “great power.” According to a survey conducted by the non-government organization Levada Center, 65% respondents said Russia was a great power. Only 25% of the 1,600 survey participants disagreed with the country’s great power status.
General public supports Russia’s military maneuvers abroad
It is a significant increase from Levada Center’s previous survey conducted in 2011, when only about 50% respondents believed the country to be a great power, reports The Moscow Times. Western nations led by the United States had imposed sanctions on Russia last year after the country’s alleged military interference in the Ukraine crisis. A steep decline in the price of oil, Moscow’s most important export, has also hurt the economy.
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Enthusiasm about President Vladimir Putin’s military maneuvers in Ukraine and Syria far outweighs concerns about the economic recession. Last year, Putin annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea despite Western resistance. In September, the Russian air force launched air strikes in Syria, firing cruise missiles and dropping bombs on ISIS militants and the US-trained rebel groups.
Putin’s approval rating remains intact
Putin has restricted travel to Egypt and Turkey, stopping tens of thousands of Russian tourists in cold. Both Turkey and Egypt are popular tourist destinations among Russians. However, travel curbs have failed to affect Putin’s popularity. His approval rating still stands at close to 90%, and more than 77% Russians support the ban on travel to Egypt after the Kremlin confirmed that a Russian passenger jet was shot down by terrorists over Egypt.
In a separate survey, the Levada Center found that 19% Russians believe a major war against NATO was possible on Russian soil within the next decade. Another 28% believe that the Russian and NATO forces would fight battles outside of Russia’s borders. More than 50% respondents said such “major clashes” were unlikely within the next decade.