Apr 2, 2022 - World

Russians rally to Putin, who hits 83% approval

A theater in Moscow displays a giant "Z" in the black and orange of the Saint George's ribbon.
A theater in Moscow displays a giant "Z" in the black and orange of the Saint George's ribbon — symbolizing support for the war in Ukraine. Photo: Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images

Polls and interviews show many Russians now accept the Kremlin’s assertion that their country is under siege from the West, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: Polls released this week by Russia’s most respected independent pollster, Levada, put Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval rating at 83%, up from 69% in January.

  • 81% said they supported the war, citing the "need to protect Russian speakers as its primary justification," per the Times.
  • "Opponents are leaving the country or keeping quiet," The Times notes.
  • Entertainment shows on television have been replaced by propaganda.

Between the lines: Moscow signals it's ready for a prolonged war: "Many Ukrainian officials and military analysts think the conflict is likely to drag on for months, or longer," The Wall Street Journal reports.

"Putin’s Ukraine quagmire": The Washington Post's Griff Witte points to echoes of Soviet failure in Afghanistan, 1979-89: "Moscow appears to have underestimated its adversary this time, just as it did then."

  • Milton Bearden, a CIA station chief in Pakistan during the Soviet war, writes for Foreign Affairs in "Putin's Afghanistan": "In setting out to reverse history, [Putin] may instead be repeating it."
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