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Putin’s Approval Rating Is Down—to 80%

Clinton and Trump can only dream of it. Here’s how Russia’s president got there (and what lies ahead), in two minutes.
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Putin in Two Minutes: A Quick Look Into His Soul

International leaders face a paradox in their relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The more he confronts and defies them, the better the Russian public likes him. The Kremlin works hard to keep it that way by cracking down on opposition activists and cultivating an image on state television of Putin as the "good Czar" protecting a nation surrounded by enemies.

His annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 sparked the riskiest standoff with the U.S. and Europe since the Cold War—and unleashed a patriotic fervor at home. His military intervention in Syria to prop up President Bashar al-Assad was spun as the act of a statesman standing up to American adventurism in the Middle East.