Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Russian Public Opinion Research Center, known as VTsIOM, posted on its website Thursday that Vladimir Putin had reached an all-time high popularity rating with approximately 90 percent of Russians approving of his leadership. This poll comes on the heels of Russian military operations in Syria against rebels challenging the regime of Bashar Assad, a longtime Soviet and Russian ally in the Middle East.

“Against the background of the successful anti-terrorist operation in Syria, Vladimir Putin‘s job approval rating has reached an historic high,” with a quarter of respondents citing the military campaign as the main reason for their support, the website read. “The president’s previous record-high rating was 89.1 percent reached in June.”

The Russian state-owned media has been in hyperactive overdrive since Russia began flight operations in Syria, proclaiming that Russia is targeting forces of the Islamic State or ISIS. Western leaders have rebutted that assessment and say Russia is targeting mostly Western-backed rebels opposing Mr. Assad.

In any event, the optics for the Russian leadership have been fantastic and evidently played into Mr. Putin‘s rising popularity, supporting the narrative that Russia is taking the leadership role from the West in the Middle East. As America abdicates its longtime leadership role in the region under the Obama administration, that conclusion can hardly be argued with.

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