Russians are more convinced than at any time in recent history that their country is a great power, as enthusiasm over military campaigns in Ukraine and Syria seems to outweigh worries about a deep economic slump.
Sixty-five percent of Russians surveyed by the independent Levada Center pollster said Russia was a great power, compared to 25 percent who disagreed. Four years ago, in 2011, the split was around 50-50.
Since then, Russia’s economy has entered a deep recession and a currency collapse means the economy is some 40 percent smaller in U.S. dollar terms, thanks in part to the effect of sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and a fall in the price of oil, Russia’s most important export.
However, President Vladimir Putin has flexed military muscles abroad, annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula last year and firing cruise missiles and dropping bombs on Syria this fall, all with the approval of state-run Russian media.
The Levada Center polled 1,600 people across Russia between Nov. 20-23. The margin of error did not exceed 3.4 percent.