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Annie Gugliotta

Russia’s last independent pollster tells me how Putin does it

How does Vladimir Putin manage to keep this up? For all the destruction he’s visited on Ukraine, his invasion has also inflicted so much damage on Russia.

There are the financial and economic costs. There’s the diplomatic isolation. There’s the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Russians who’d rather bet on a future abroad than support Putin’s war for the past at home.

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Wagner PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin leaves a cemetery before the funeral of a Russian military blogger who was killed in a bomb attack in a St Petersburg cafe, in Moscow, Russia.

REUTERS/Yulia Morozova

How popular is Yevgeny Prigozhin in Russia?

A new poll by the independent Levada Center in Moscow shows support for the warlord plummeted in the days after his failed putsch last weekend.

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What do Russians really think of the war?
Levada Center's Lev Gudkov: What Do Russians Really Think of the War? | GZERO Media | GZERO Media

What do Russians really think of the war?

When Vladimir Putin took the decision to send his armies into Ukraine, he claimed to be acting on behalf of the Russian people. Defending them, he said, from the threat of “Nazism.”

But after two weeks of war — or the “special military operation,” as it’s called in Russia — how do Russians feel about what’s being done in their name?

According to Lev Dmitrievich Gudkov, director of the Moscow-based Levada Center, the last independent pollster in Russia, some 60% of Russians currently support the invasion, while only a quarter oppose it.

But given the increased censorship and tightly controlled Kremlin narrative, can polls even be trusted? We sat down with Gudkov to discuss that question, along with how the population is responding to the country’s sudden isolation and economic crisis, and what it all may mean for Vladimir Putin in the future.

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