Why is Vladimir Putin so popular in Russia’s neighboring countries?

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BOULDER, Colo. — Former President Donald Trump isn’t the one one who has heaped reward on Russian chief Vladimir Putin. A global analysis workforce is offering a complete view of the assist Putin receives from a number of neighboring international locations. Researchers say the rationale this controversial determine continues to be so widespread comes all the way down to his machismo and authoritarian character.

The research aimed to grasp the demographics of those that assist Putin, recognized for his background as a former KGB spy, and iconic pictures, comparable to posing shirtless on a horse. The findings uncovered that Putin tends to garner extra assist from males than girls and is much less favored amongst youthful and extra educated people.

“Our analysis has proven that Putin’s machismo and his authoritarian personality attraction to individuals who have extra close-minded personalities, maintain conventional values and don’t trust science,” says John O’Loughlin, professor within the Institute of Behavioral Science and Division of Geography at UC Boulder, in a university release.

The research concerned surveying over 8,400 people throughout six nations: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Ukraine between 2019 and 2020. College of Colorado Boulder researchers collaborated with native polling corporations for face-to-face surveys.

Putin posing with girl
Picture by klimkin from Pixabay

Whereas Putin’s reputation varies throughout the former Soviet Union, Georgia showcased overwhelming disapproval, with over 70 % expressing “no belief in any respect” within the Russian chief. In distinction, Belarus and Kazakhstan exhibited extra favorable sentiments, given their traditionally shut ties with Russia.

The surveys have been performed earlier than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The workforce plans to revisit these respondents in 2024 to gauge any alterations in attitudes in direction of Putin, notably post-war.

Telephone interviews performed in components of Ukraine beneath Kyiv’s management in October 2022 revealed a big backlash towards Putin due to the war. Assist for becoming a member of NATO surged from 44 % to 77 % since 2019, indicating a stark shift in attitudes.

“We have now what’s known as a ‘pure experiment,’” explains O’Loughlin. “We weren’t anticipating the warfare in Ukraine, however we will see the results of the full-scale invasion on peoples’ attitudes about Putin and Russia and towards the West and NATO.”

Nevertheless, gauging attitudes towards Putin isn’t easy. To bypass biases and potential untruths in survey responses, researchers employed an “endorsement experiment.” By associating Putin’s supposed assist for Arctic oil drilling in survey questions, they assessed real sentiments towards him. Outcomes revealed divergent reactions throughout nations; the faux Putin endorsement affected opinions on Arctic drilling in another way in several international locations.

The research sheds mild on why some people resonate with leaders like Putin, indicating that these favoring extra conventional gender roles or perceiving themselves as typical are likely to assist him extra. O’Loughlin emphasised Putin’s attraction to Russian residents through nostalgia for the previous Soviet Union, perceived as a time of stability and peace, particularly amongst older generations.

“Within the U.S., that’s straightforward to dismiss, however many individuals need safety, peace and quiet,” says O’Loughlin. “They imagine that should you don’t have a powerful, authoritarian chief, the entire society goes to break down.”

The research is revealed within the journal Political Geography.

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