Average Russian retirees can travel abroad these days thanks to ample pension benefits. It is something they could not imagine under the former Soviet Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin who is spending money lavishly to his people has soaring popularity in Russia. The Voice of Russia said last week that Putins approval rating has continued around 80 percent as of last week. Since March 2014, we can positively speak about a new Putin majority, said Pavel Danilin, head of the Political Analysis Center.
Putin visited Cuba two weeks ago and wrote off 90 percent of the 32-billion dollar loan, which was extended under the former Soviet Union. Putins generosity at home and abroad comes from the export of crude oil and natural gas. Putin signed a 30-year contract supplying 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to China in May this year. With the 400 billion dollar deal, the Russian president is likely to continue his spending spree.
Putin had served as president twice from 2000 to 2008 and became president again in 2012. Theoretically, he did not violate the two-term limit on presidency in the constitution. As the constitution was revised to make the term to six years, he could serve as president by 2024, if he is re-elected. As he has national popularity in addition to long-term presidency, he is a modern day czar. Although the annexation of Crimea drew a backlash from the international community, it stoked fire of Russian nationalism and increased his popularity at home.
As everything has ups and downs, Putin has faced a setback due to the shot down of a Malaysian Airline plane. The U.N. Security Council said in a unanimously adopted resolution on Monday, There will be a thorough, independent international investigation into what has happened there will be no impunity. Those responsible for this despicable act will be brought to justice. Evidence is found that a missile launched by the pro-Russian insurgent attacked the plane. If the intervention of the Russian military is confirmed, Putin cannot be safe. As many as 12 countries lost their people due to the downed plane. Putin who had been on a roll now faces a crisis.