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Surge in Putin Patriotism Masks Pain of Sanctions

Russians are backing Vladimir Putin as he confronts the U.S. and Europe over Ukraine, even if their wallets tell a different story.

Putin’s popularity is soaring, along with consumer confidence and a gauge for “social comfort.” Another set of data reveals an abrupt change in a country that reveled in consumerism after the collapse of communism. Car sales are plunging, tour operators are going bankrupt and disposable incomes are stalling.