vladimir putin two

Vladimir Putin, two



midst combine abandoned
plunge sanction demagogue
rate poverty take kindly to
allege approval according to
poll (3) riddle (2) persistent
brutal scandal authoritarianism
perks peak (2) funnel (2)
yacht fleet (2) roughly (2)
bribe stem (2) considerable
claim plummet censorship
poison approve exceptionally
budget nostalgic intelligence (2)
trust recession protagonist
GDP stability Soviet Union
era slighted take office
unique campaign syndrome (2)
portray post (4) subsequent
supply stagnant downturn
cult stamp (2) cult of personality
macho demand take charge
retain dissident controversial
flaw oversee alternative
devalue decimate dependent
notably spike (2) overwhelming
critics figure (3) not to mention
arrest recover






Russia is in the midst of its worst recession in nearly two decades. The recent plunge in oil prices, combined with Western economic sanctions have left the country with a decimated employment rate, a devalued currency and a rapidly growing poverty rate.

Meanwhile, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, saw his approval rating peak at nearly ninety percent (90%) in 2015. This was according to polls from independent researchers at the Levada Center, as well as state-run polling.

So with all the county’s problems, why do Russians still love Putin?

Putin’s persistently high marks are often a shock to the West, as his leadership is riddled with corruption, scandal and brutal authoritarianism.

Since taking office in 2000, Putin has allegedly funneled millions of public dollars into presidential perks, including twenty palaces, fleets of yachts and aircraft, a luxury watch collection, and even an $80,000 toilet.

In fact, roughly one-third of Russia’s budget is believed to go to public officials, who collect considerably more from bribes than before Putin.

Moreover, press freedom has plummeted under Putin, censorship in Russia has been compared to Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia.

Dozens of journalists and Russian dissidents have been murdered since Putin took office, most famously Alexander Litvinenko, whose poisoning was allegedly approved by the president.

Putin is known to be exceptionally secretive, likely stemming from his career as a spy for the Soviet Union’s foreign intelligence agency, the KGB.

And yet, most Russians still claim to trust Putin.

This is, in part, because he brought stability to the country after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

By 1999, the country’s GDP had dropped by more than half, and quality of life plummeted to an all time low.

Many Russians felt abandoned by the West, slighted by their new government, and in some in cases, nostalgic for the Soviet Era.

During his 1999 presidential campaign, Putin promised to improve the lives of Russians and create a unique, national identity, independent from the West.

And in many ways, he did: during Putin’s first presidency, nationalism spiked, Russia’s GDP rose every year, and by 2007, the economy had completely recovered from its post-Soviet downturn and subsequent recession.

But despite his popularity, Russia’s economic boom was largely the result of increased demand for their greatest export: oil.

But beyond economics, Putin also enjoys a heroic cult of personality. He has retained a take-charge, macho-man image, effectively marketing himself as a fighter. Putin has been portrayed as the protagonist of Russian comics, movies and children’s books.

His name and image are even stamped on products like canned food and vodka, as a way to make them sell.

Even after Russia’s controversial annexation of Crimea in 2014, Putin’s approval rating continued to grow.

Perhaps Russians are willing to oversee Putin’s flaws, for fear of the alternative — a country that is economically stagnant and dependent on air from the West, as it was in the 1990s.

Putin’s popular is not as unique as it may seem: demagogues around the world, notably Donald Trump in the United States, are seeing overwhelming support from the public.

It’s an age-old syndrome, not to mention a dangerous one.

As such an authoritarian figure, Putin doesn’t seem to take kindly to critics; a number of them have been arrested — and even killed.

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1. At the time of this report, Russia’s economy was in a poor state. True or false?

2. Is Russia a complete democracy with full transparency, accountability and rule of law?

3. There total freedom of press, speech and expression in Russia. Is this correct or incorrect?

4. Do most Russians despise Vladimir Putin as an autocrat? How do many people feel about him? Why do many people respect and admire him?

5. Has Putin become an iconic figure in Russian society?

6. Russians want (radical) changes. Is this entirely true, mostly true, yes and no, in the middle, partially true, largely false or entirely false?

7. Is Putin’s style of leadership and government is one of a kind? Is it wholly unique to Russia?


A. What do your friends or people in your country think of Putin? Are they pro or anti Putin or do they have mixed feelings?

B. Are there politicians or leaders in your country similar to Putin? Describe them.

C. Who supports them? Why do they support them?

D. Is there a “solution” to situations and people like Putin?

E. What will happen in the future?


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