The Russian President has faced international condemnation for his ruthless invasion of Ukraine. But as the world watches in disbelief, Russians are apparently in favour of their leadership, if you choose to believe a poll conducted by a Kremlin backed organisation.
A VTsIOM poll said that 78 percent of Russians now think that their president is doing a good job, compared with 70 percent in February.
But while that seems like a major boost for the Russian strongman, the result is not to be fully believed as VTsIOM is a Kremlin owned polling unit.
Kremlin-linked media channels have been backing the Kremlin leader over the past four months, with many international news sources now banned online and on television throughout the country.
On June 30, the lower house of Russia’s parliament has given final approval to a bill that would allow the banning of foreign news media, with President Putin due to sign it into law in the near future.
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VTsIOM said in another poll released earlier this week that levels of confidence in the Russian leader are at the highest level since 2005, with 61 percent of Russians having confidence in the direction the country was taking.
It also said that 72 percent of Russians supported the invasion of Ukraine.
Kremlin backed media across Russia is painting a very different picture of the war to Western media.
Its messaging has focussed on the righteousness and inevitability of the invasion, with President Putin still pushing the need to “denazify” Ukraine.
Russian soldiers are also portrayed as liberators freeing ethnic Russians from foreign control, echoing back to World War 2.
The Kremlin propaganda also regularly portrays Russia war crimes as fake news, most recently with the Russian missile on a shopping centre in Kyiv and again with the horrific crimes committed by Russian soldiers in Bucha.
Other recent polls conducted by VTsIOM found that Russians believed the main goal in Ukraine is to “protect Russia, to disarm Ukraine and not to allow NATO to deploy military bases in Ukraine”, with 40 percent of respondents agreeing.
According to the poll conducted on May 30, 18 percent believed it was to “change Ukraine’s political course, to conduct denazification” and 20 percent said they believed it was to protect the contested Donbas region.
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Only seven percent believed Russia was attempting to incorporate Ukraine into Russian territory.
Suppression of opinion has tightened throughout the war in Ukraine, with speaking out against the invasion now a crime punishable by imprisonment.
Russians who describe his “special military operation” as an invasion may be imprisoned for up to 15 years.
When the invasion was launched, brave Russians took to the streets in major cities, but were quickly rounded up and taken away by police and security forces.