Putin's popularity at record high, government-funded poll says

Story highlights

  • A Russian government-funded poll puts President Vladimir Putin's popularity at 89.9%
  • The rating is a historic high, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center says
  • Center links Putin's popularity to Russia's recent military operations in Syria

(CNN)Russia's military operation in Syria has pushed President Vladimir Putin's popularity to a "historic maximum" of 89.9%, according to a new government-funded poll.

The Russian Public Opinion Research Center said Putin's high popularity trumped his previous record of 89.1% in June.
    "Such a high rating of approval of the Russian president is registered, first of all, in connection with events in Syria, Russian aviation's airstrikes at terrorist positions," the center said.
    The center said the poll of 1,600 people had a statistical margin of error of 3.5% and was conducted between Saturday and Sunday.

    Russia in Syria

    Russia launched airstrikes in Syria on September 30, saying it was targeting ISIS, al Nusra Front or other terrorist groups recognized by the U.N. Security Council or Russian law.
    The Kremlin has since acknowledged that it is intent on shoring up the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, the Assad regime has been battling moderate opposition forces as well as extremist groups such as ISIS.
    "Our task is to stabilize the legitimate government and to create conditions for a political compromise ... by military means, of course," Putin told the state-run Russia 24 TV on October 12.
    Critics say Russia is trying to wipe out Syrian dissidents who oppose Assad.

    'He is a very Soviet man'

    Putin's popularity was polling high before his military went to Assad's aid.
    The daughter of one of Russia's most prominent opposition leaders, shot dead this year near the Kremlin, told CNN this month that Putin's popularity could be chalked up to propaganda and "nostalgia."
    "He is a very Soviet man. He is of this culture. He is not more than a tool," Zhanna Nemtsova told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
    "Putin has two truths: He has oil price and propaganda," said the daughter of Boris Nemtsov.
    "Now oil prices fell down. They lost half of its value. Now he has only one tool left, and that is propaganda. And that is why he is so popular in Russia."