Accrediting Putins high ratings and support solely to the media might be a tad too simple.
A few weeks ago, you had a nice talk with someone who actually cared to live in Russia (not in Moscow!) for a few years, to gauge how the “average people” feel and what they think:
There, she actually made good points that Putins success is *not* just from pure propaganda, but actual improvements in the quality of life.
When you write things like
“This is despite a flagging economy, crippling Western sanctions and dead Russian soldiers coming home in unmarked trucks from wars that don’t officially exist.”
you forget the state that the country was in before Putin came to power. The economy was in shambles, Kleptokrats were reaping all the profits from privatized companies, and the country was still recovering from a bloody and humiliating first Chechen war.
What also bothers me (and a lot of people in russia) is the automatic and implicit equation of “The West” and “Human Rights and Democracy”. Whenever seems to go against US interests, they are automatically assumed to be undemocratic, and whenever a “pro- West” leader emerges, they are celebrated as the bringer of freedom.
This has proven to be wrong so many times nowadays, that I’m starting to wonder if all the authors have stopped reading the news in the last 2 decades.
tl;dr: I suggest to authors and readers to listen to the podcast on this very site, that more of a nuanced view on the subject: https://warisboring.com/the-simple-reality-behind-putins-popularity-48786f567ccc