According to public opinion polls in June 2007, Putin’s popularity rating was 81%, the second most significant leader in the world. The popularity rating of British Prime Minister Tony Blair in September 1997 was 93%. In January 2013, Putin’s popularity rating fell to 62%, to the lowest level since 2000. He fell 10 points in the last two years.
However, in May 2014, his rating rose to 85.9%. According to foreign observers, V. Putin’s rating has grown as a result of significant improvements in the life of the Russian people and the revival of Russia's dominant position in the international arena during his presidency. According to one estimate, Putin’s popularity, in particular, is supported by state-controlled or state-controlled television channels.
A study conducted in 2005 showed that the majority of the Russian people considered their country “more democratic” under Putin’s leadership at that time than it was during the Yeltsin or Gorbachev years; the same proportion of Russians thought that human rights were better protected Putin than under Yeltsin.
In 2007, Time magazine called V. Putin the man of the year. In April 2008, he entered the list of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 he was recognised as the most influential person in the world by Forbes.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev wrote about Putin that he “pulled Russia out of chaos,” although he criticises him for restricting press freedom and for running for a third term in the presidency. According to opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, V. Putin is turning Russia into a “raw materials colony” of China. Especially much criticism of Putin is spreading in Russia via the Internet, saying that Russian youth organisations are funding a whole network of pro-government bloggers.
At the end of 2010, WikiLeaks published a statement by the US attache of the US Diplomatic Society: Putin’s Russia became “a corrupt, dictatorial kleptocracy centred under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, where officials, oligarchs and organised crime joined together to create a real-life criminal state". Naturally, Putin called these attacks “slanderous.”
In St. Petersburg, during the presidential campaign of 2012, a protest rally was held against V. Putin, on which banners were depicting old Putin in full dress Leonid Brezhnev, with a hint of another Russian president who would come to power in 2024
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