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Analysts: process of national consolidation around Russian president underway

March 21, 2014, 4:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 21. /ITAR-TASS/. That Vladimir Putin’s rating has reached a record-high, according to the national pollster VTSIOM, is a sure sign of Russians’ attitude to the president’s line of action in relation to the Ukrainian crisis, a leading Russian scholar has told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.

“The reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia, Putin’s firm position and his opinion regarding the illegitimate authorities in Kiev have met with support from most compatriots,” Leonid Polyakov, a deputy dean of the applied political sciences chair at the Higher School of Economics, said.

He sees the excellent performance of the national team at the Paralympics in Sochi as another major factor for greater trust.

“Victories attained by physically impaired people and the attention the head of state pays to them obviously aroused fellow citizens’ sympathy,” he believes.

Polyakov noted the importance of the fact the president’s rating has been noticeably up in Russia’s both largest cities - Moscow and St. Petersburg.

“This means that the process of national consolidation around the president is underway. This is a new phenomenon, a new trend, and it is going to last,” Polyakov said.

He recalled that the VTSIOM poll was held on March 15-16, before Putin’s address and the signing of the treaty on the accession of Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia.

“If one adds the mighty support from the people for these events, the rating of confidence in the president would be noticeably higher. It is quite real that both parameters have been up,” Polyakov said.

“Putin’s unprecedented rating is evidence of unprecedented consolidation of society,” said the general director of the Institute of Priority Regional Projects, Nikolai Mironov. In his opinion “such unanimous approval of the head of state’s foreign policy has never been observed in the past.”

The unification of Crimea with Russia was the greatest contributing factor, the analyst said.

“There has emerged the hope Russia will restore its positions in the world and enjoy greater respect,” he said, adding the president’s high rating will stay for a while even though the West is threatening Russia with sanctions.

“Sanctions, even if there are any, will not affect Russians’ support, because Russia has invariably braced up in the face of foreign threats,” he said.

Mironov believes there will be no major sanctions, just as there will be no major economic or social problems following the accession of Crimea and Sevastopol.

In particular, he said that in the current political situation “the point at issue is not a compromise or a forced consensus, but the nation’s unity.”

“Russia’s national unity is a reality and it will stay on,” he said.

Civic Chamber member Sergei Markov has said Putin’s rating has grown mostly on the “approval of the presidential policies in the context of the Ukrainian crisis and the steps to ensure the re-unification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia.”

“Putin’s consistency and resolution looked most effective amid the chaos in Ukraine,” he said.

Also, Markov points to the Sochi Olympics as a major reason high poll ratings.

“On the whole it is a triumph of both Russian national teams, of the impeccable organization of the Games and of the creation of unique infrastructures,” he said.

Putin’s rating has reached a record-high over the past five years, as follows form an opinion poll conducted by the national public opinion studies centre VTSIOM. According to the pollster it reached 75.7 percent.

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