If Vladimir Putin wins in the Russian elections in March, few will be surprised in Russia or abroad. The incumbent president remains by far the most popular and most trusted politician in the country. For the overwhelming majority of Russian voters, Putin’s name symbolises the many positive changes they have observed since the beginning of century. In Russia, the imminent threat of national disintegration has been avoided and the standard of living has significantly improved. Domestic and foreign security has been enhanced and the country is  playing a more active role internationally, re-emerging as a great power with global interests and reach. These are well-known facts with which both Putin’s supporters and his critics must contend when reflecting on the sources of his continuing popularity.


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