Russians Remain Confident in Putin's Global RELEASE JUNE 20, 2017 Russians Remain Confident in Putin’s

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  • FOR RELEASE JUNE 20, 2017

    Russians Remain Confident in Putins Global Leadership Majority says Russia has improved its international standing, but views of the economy are mixed and corruption is a concern BY Margaret Vice

    FOR MEDIA OR OTHER INQUIRIES:

    Margaret Vice, Senior Researcher

    Rhonda Stewart, Senior Communications Manager

    202.419.4372

    www.pewresearch.org

    RECOMMENDED CITATION: Pew Research Center, June, 2017, Russians Remain Confident in Putins Global Leadership

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    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

    www.pewresearch.org

    About Pew Research Center

    Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. It studies U.S. politics and policy; journalism and media; internet, science and technology; religion and public life; Hispanic trends; global attitudes and trends; and U.S. social and demographic trends. All of the centers reports are available at www.pewresearch.org. Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder.

    Pew Research Center 2017

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    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

    www.pewresearch.org

    Table of Contents

    About Pew Research Center 1

    Table of Contents 2

    Overview: Russians Remain Confident in Putin's Global Leadership 3

    1. President Putin: The Russian perspective 6

    2. Russians take on the economy and problems at home 8

    3. Russias role in the world and views on national defense 11

    Acknowledgments 15

    Methodology 16

    Topline Questionnaire 17

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    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

    www.pewresearch.org

    Russians Remain Confident in Putins Global Leadership Majority says Russia has improved its international standing, but views of the economy are mixed and corruption is a concern President Vladimir Putins handling of foreign affairs gets high ratings from most Russians, in contrast to more tempered views of his economic policies and anti-corruption efforts at home. Confidence in Putins global leadership has been consistently strong over the decade-and-a-half that Pew Research Center has polled in Russia. Trust in the Russian leader has remained high since an increase in 2014, shortly after the conflict with Ukraine and subsequent annexation of Crimea.

    Today, however, Putin earns lower marks (63%) than he did two years ago (83%) for his handling of relations with Ukraine. Support for the Russian president has also declined when it comes to his approach to relations with the EU, China and the United States.

    Despite slippage in how well the public thinks their president is handling key foreign policies, a majority of Russians say their country plays a more important role on the world stage than it did 10 years ago.

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    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

    www.pewresearch.org

    20 27 26 2332

    36

    54

    2734 32

    46

    37

    5658

    71 6469 71

    6256

    43

    6559 60

    45

    57

    36

    37

    0

    100

    2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016

    Satisfied

    Dissatisfied

    %

    2017

    Putins 2015 decision to intervene in the Syrian conflict was a momentous change in Russias foreign policy. Today, the prevailing view among Russians is that their country should stay the course in Syria, keeping Russias military involvement at its current level (46%). Among those who would like to see a change in Russias stance, roughly three times as many support decreasing the level of Russias involvement (34%), as opposed to increasing it (11%). When asked about the purpose of their countrys military actions in Syria, majorities say limiting casualties (72%) and defeating extremist groups (64%) should be priorities, compared with just a quarter who say the same about the Kremlins apparent goal of keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power.

    Syria has been one factor affecting relations between Russia and the West. Another has been NATO. As of this spring, around four-in-ten Russians (41%) describe the trans-Atlantic security organization as a major threat to their homeland, down slightly from 50% in 2015.

    Since 2014, most Russians have been satisfied with their countrys direction __ with the way things are going in our country today

    Source: Spring 2017 Global Attitudes Survey. Q2.

    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/07/putins-russia-is-wedded-to-bashar-al-assad-syria-moscow/

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    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

    www.pewresearch.org

    16%

    22

    26

    29

    28

    35

    40

    45

    78%

    73

    67

    63

    60

    57

    55

    49

    ApproveDisapprove

    Relations with China

    Relations with U.S.

    Relations with EU

    Relations with Ukraine

    Energy policy

    Civil society

    Economy

    Corruption

    These are among the key findings of a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted among 1,002 respondents in Russia from Feb. 18 to April 3, 2017.

    At home, Russians most often cite rising prices as a very big problem (71%), followed by roughly six-in-ten (58%) who describe corrupt political leaders in the same terms. And at least half of the Russian public says lack of employment opportunities (54%), terrorism (54%), the gap between rich and poor (53%), crime (52%) and corrupt business leaders (50%) are very big problems.

    Overall assessments of the Russian economy are tepid but relatively upbeat compared with recent years. In 2015, almost three-quarters (73%) saw the economic situation as bad. Today, opinion is split (46% good vs. 49% bad). Russians are feeling slightly better about their own lives as well. Around half (51%) now say their personal economic situation is good, compared with 44% in 2015. However, not many Russians feel optimistic about the future: More than half (53%) expect the national economy to remain the same or worsen in the next year.

    Despite Russians lukewarm view of the economy, a majority (55%) still approves of Putins handling of the issue. Putin also has the support of more than half the country when it comes to energy policy and civil society. The only area included in the survey in which he fails to earn majority approval is the issue of corruption.

    Putins ratings on foreign relations higher than for domestic policy issues __ of the way President Vladimir Putin is handling

    Source: Spring 2017 Global Attitudes Survey. Q115a-h.

    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

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    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

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    0

    25

    50

    75

    100

    2003 2010 2017

    Some confidence

    A lot of confidence

    %

    1. President Putin: The Russian perspective

    Russians high level of confidence in their presidents ability to do the right thing regarding world affairs endures. A full 87% have some or a lot of confidence in Vladimir Putins handling of global issues, a share that has held relatively steady since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in 2014.

    More than half of Russians express a lot of confidence in Putin, though this number has slipped since 2015 from 66% to 58%. He gets lower ratings among Russians who are unhappy with the countrys economic situation, however. Only 46% of those who think the economy is bad have a lot of confidence in Putin, compared with a full 70% of those who think the economy is good.

    Despite the durability of Putins overall rating, his performance in handling specific issues has taken a hit since 2015. Across seven issues, approval of Putin has dropped by anywhere from 12 to 20 percentage points in the past two years. Although his approval on handling relations with China is currently his strongest issue, support for Putin on that measure dropped 12 points since 2015, to 78%.

    On other foreign relations matters, approval has dropped similarly. Putins handling of relations with the U.S. dropped from 85% in 2015, when Barack Obama was still U.S. president, to 73% in the first months of the Donald Trump administration. His handling of relations with the European Union dropped 15 points in two years, to 67%. And the share that approves of the Russian presidents handling of relations with Ukraine has dropped by 20 points since the annexation of Crimea three years ago (83% in 2015, 63% in 2017).

    Over time, Russians more intensely confident in Putin How much confidence do you have in Russian President Vladimir Putin to do the right thing regarding world affairs?

    Source: Spring 2017 Global Attitudes Survey. Q30c.

    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

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    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

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    On domestic issues, Putins ratings have slipped in the areas of energy policy (from 73% approval in 2015 to 60% today) and the economy (from 70% to 55%). Putins marks for reducing corruption have also fallen over the past two years, from 62% to 49%. A 57% majority approves of Putins approach to civil society (the question was asked for the first time this year).

    Older Russians, in addition to viewing the issue of corruption as more problematic than younger Russians, are also less satisfied with Putins handling of the issue. Less than half (46%) of those ages 50 and older approve of Putins handling of corruption, compared with 57% of 18- to 29-year-olds.

    Putins ratings on issues drop across the board Approve of the way President Vladimir Putin is handling

    2015 2017 Change % % Relations w/Ukraine 83 63 -20 Relations w/the EU 82 67 -15 Economy 70 55 -15 Energy policy 73 60 -13 Corruption 62 49 -13 Rel