Russian pollster claim Putin’s approval holds steady


Nationwide protests over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and a sweeping police crackdown have so far had little impact on Russia President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating, a survey by independent pollster Levada showed on Thursday. A court on Tuesday sentenced Navalny, a prominent Putin opponent, to three and a half years for parole violations he said were trumped up, ignoring calls from the West and protesters at home to release him. The Levada Centre poll, conducted in the leadup to the sentencing, showed an overall 1% drop in approval of Putin to 64% from 65% in November among 1,616 adults in 50 regions, a relatively small sample of Russia’s 145 million population.— Reuters