The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Pres­i­dent Obama isn’t the only one fac­ing a sharp de­cline in his ap­proval rat­ing. Re­cent polls show that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, who is fond of be­ing pho­tographed with­out his shirt, is de­clin­ing in pop­u­lar­ity among his peo­ple.

Rus­sia’s lead­ing in­de­pen­dent poll­ster, the Le­vada Center, con­cluded in a re­cent re­port that fer­vor for the Rus­sian strong­man has chilled con­sid­er­ably.

From a peak of 80 per­cent ap­proval rat­ing in 2008, Mr. Putin’s fa­vor­a­bil­ity rat­ing de­clined to 47 per­cent in an Au­gust sur­vey.

Those with an un­fa­vor­able view of the for­mer KGB of­fi­cer, who has pop­u­lated his au­thor­i­tar­ian ad­min­is­tra­tion with for­mer KGB po­lit­i­cal po­lice, in­creased to 27 per­cent from 10 per­cent dur­ing the same pe­riod.

Le­vada stated that Rus­sians con­sider Mr. Putin “first and fore­most rep­re­sent­ing the in­ter­ests of the se­cu­rity ser­vices, oli­garchs, the bu­reau­cracy and the heads of large cor­po­ra­tions — fig­ures who in the pub­lic mind are at odds with or­di­nary peo­ple.”

No al­ter­na­tives to Mr. Putin ap­pear to be on the po­lit­i­cal hori­zon.

Bill Gertz can be reached at @Bil­lGertz.

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