Vladamir Putin is arguably the most popular leader in Russian history, although you’d never know it by reading the western media. According to a recent survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, Putin’s personal approval rating in November 2007 was 85 per cent, making him the most popular head of state in the world today. Putin’s popularity derives from many factors. He is personally clever and charismatic. He is fiercely nationalistic and has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of ordinary Russians and restore the country to its former greatness. He has raised over 20 million Russians out of grinding poverty, improved education, health care and the pension system, (partially) nationalized critical industries, lowered unemployment, increased manufacturing and exports, invigorated Russian markets, strengthened the ruble, raised the overall standard of living, reduced government corruption, jailed or exiled the venal oligarchs, and amassed capital reserves of $450 billion.
Putin’s real crime is that he serves Russia’s national interests rather than the interests of global Capital. He also rejects Washington’s “unipolar” world model. As he said in Munich:”The unipolar world refers to a world in which there is one master, one sovereign; one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. At the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.”What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization.”He added:”We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law….We are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force — military force — in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.”Well said, Vladimir.Putin’s no saint, but he doesn’t deserve the thrashing he gets from the western media.