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Today, only 13% of Russians say they would not vote for Putin.
Today, only 13% of Russians say they would not vote for Putin.

MOSCOW — According to a recent poll, the number of Russian citizens who would be prepared to vote for President Vladimir Putin if he were up for reelection now has been increasing every month since Russia annexed Crimea.

In April, his approval rating was 62%, in May it increased to 73%. At the beginning of 2012, only 40% of Russians said they would vote for Putin, while 39% said they wouldn’t. Today, only 13% of Russians say they would not vote for Putin.

Putin’s popularity is absolutely connected to the events in Ukraine, explains Valerii Fedorov, general director of the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, which conducted the polls.

Federov notes that the annexation of Crimea is now seen as central to Putin’s entire political career that his current approval ratings can’t really be compared to the “pre-Crimea” polls.

“Putin is going down in history,” he said. “Because of it, all the exhaustion that people had been feeling about his time in power has disappeared.”

Risks of war and peace

Most Russians say they now believe Putin still has a good future in politics still ahead of him. The Russian political scene “now really only has one pole — Putin, and there is nothing that even resembles an “anti-Putin,” explained Evgeni Minchenko, head of the International Institute of Political Analysis.

Still, Minchenko does note that the Russian president’s domestic authority “now depends on international politics, including the events in Ukraine, to an unprecedented level.” Indeed, if Putin doesn’t more directly intervene in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, it “could lower his popularity down to the ‘pre-Crimea’ levels,” he said.

Minchenko cautions, however, that an armed intervention would only help keep Putin’s popularity levels high if “the war is quite small and there is a clear victory.”

According to Boris Makarenko, head of the Center of Political Technology, the President could hold on to his new popularity levels “for months or for years.” Right now, Makarenko says, Russians acknowledge Putin’s symbolic leadership and his right to be the “chief.”

But society also evaluates concrete political actions. “Sooner or later, people’s evaluation of Putin on both levels will dead-end," Makarenko says. "But no one knows when that will happen."

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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