This was originally posted on my previous blog in June of 2014.
A recent poll has shown several shocking numbers since the Ukraine invasions and conflict. For the first time in six years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has figures of over eighty percent when it comes to national approval. Even more impressive when it comes to national numbers, it is the first time since 2010 that his approval rating is over seventy percent.
A lot of evidence suggested that Putin rigged the 2012 Russian Presidential election, as over 15,000 citizens protested the victory on Putin’s behalf, chanting “Russia without Putin” in a Moscow square. However, since then, it seems that Russian civilians have grown to like Vladimir PutIn once more.
And at such an odd time too, with Russia staring the United Nations during the acts of Crimea and the support of pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine. Especially before, during and after the popular news story of the tragic incident of MH17.
While similar polls held in the United States show that Americans are starting to become less satisfied with their freedom and rights, Russians became incredibly more satisfied during the summer of 2014. Sixty-five percent of Russians are satisfied with their freedom in Russia, even after the failures of Gay Rights Protests and other movements in Russia (such as the “Russia without Putin” rallies after the 2012 Election, which ended in over 450 people in St. Petersburg and Moscow being detained).
This poll also shows that Russians are beginning to dislike Western countries and forces, such as the United States and the European Union. Which brings me to my point. Russia has never really liked the United States. In fact, the highest approval rating Russians have had towards the American government was a mere 23% during 2010. And now, after these polls and the during the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, it sits at an all time low. Only four percent of the people in the survey approve of the leadership in America. And only six percent approve of the European Union.
Throughout history, Russia has taken interest in both continents it rests upon – Europe and Asia; although of their population is more involved in European-styled culture, as the capital Moscow lies on the European side of the nation. Although Russia did participate in the Russo-Japanese war from 1904 to 1905, one could argue that throughout most of its history, the country has decided to stay more involved with European and Western society. But now, as these new polls show, Russians are beginning to drift away from the Western culture they’ve been actively participating in since as far back as one can see. With only six percent (statistically speaking) of citizens approving of the European Union, a massive decrease of at least fifteen percent from last year, this poll shows that a majority of people living in Russia no longer agree or wish to participate in European matters.
Even with Putin still pressing forward in the Crimean Peninsula of Eastern Ukraine.
However, the poll has shown that a whopping forty-two percent of people in the country approve of China. An all time high, increasing seventeen percent since 2013. As relationships have began to crumble with Europe and America, it has began to improve relations and trade with the People’s Republic of China. During May 2014, a four hundred billion American Dollar (2,483,200,000,000 in Chinese Yuan and 14,058,200,000,000 in Russian ruble) gas deal made China the most important economic partner. Russian approval of China has soared since then, showing that perhaps the country is now more focused in Asian matters now than ever before.
With only single digits remaining in approval of America and the European Union from Russia’s standpoint, and the approval rating of China steadily creeping towards the 50% mark, along with rising tensions in Ukraine due to the MH17, Russia could be drifting away from Western relations in interest/favor over economic power in the East.