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A Considerable part of the Russians under Putin have lived my entire adult life. In the last presidential election he scored 77%. On the international arena Russia attracts such attention that even in the cartoon about the girl with the bear in the West saw the arms of a hybrid war. Meanwhile, Putin, playing Russian weapons and nerves of the West, reminiscent of the range of deployed and developed by the Russian arms, and the press is full of headlines about the nuclear standoff between the two superpowers of the cold war era. For the first time in decades, Russia is at war in the middle East, and its borders captured the Crimea, which Putin called the same Shrine as the Temple mount to Jews and Muslims. In many respects, Putin is still on the horse. However, in the beginning of the next six-year period, the facade cracked and appeared the first signs that all is not as smooth as described by the President, who said recently that his "love for Russia... have increased" since coming to power in 2000. Even with the fraud described by independent observers at the presidential elections in Russia, Putin can be considered a landslide victory in March with confirmation that the Russians reciprocate. At least sympathize. Or I see no alternative. Since then, as in 2014, Putin has thoroughly shaken my relationship with people, annexing the Crimea, the romance slowly disappears. The question arises by itself: not lost whether Putin be worried? "He loses touch with the Russian people", – said mark Galeotti from the Prague Institute of international relations. A trip abroad is an Important part of Putin's policies – increasing the importance of Russia on the world stage; it is with great enthusiasm goes to a foreign trip. It was noticeable at the meeting on 30 October in Buenos Aires, the meeting "Big twenty", when Putin emphasized warmly welcomed Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, suspected of organizing the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. At home, the Russian President seems quite sluggish, despite your love for terrible slogans and impressive gestures like diving for antique vases or flight with Siberian cranes. Putin did not even try to hide his boredom at the October meeting with experts on foreign policy, writes columnist for "Bloomberg opinion" Leonid Bershidsky. In June's "Direct line with Vladimir Putin" held a month after his inauguration, Putin at times was frankly bored. "It's nice, of course, give five companion autocrat," says Galeotti. Putin, however, rarely travels to Russian regions to control local officials and "to show that the king still cares about the subjects." The good old days of Putin's approval Rating is lower than usual. The economy is not growing, West to cancel the sanctions, no one is going, and the search for unifying national ideas either still going, or have been terminated without any clear result. The Kremlin portrays Putin is the king, the Savior, who alone was able to raise Russia from its knees after a decade of stagnation. Since then, as Boris Yeltsin left the presidency, it's been 19 years, and Putin seems harder to move the country forward or at least maintain stability. In the first two terms from 2000 to 2008, Putin found himself in a situation of bliss, said Galeotti. Had a lot of money, grow the economy, high oil prices ensured the GDP growth, the West's fight against terrorism has created, among other things, a favorable international environment for a relatively obscure Russian President. "Now money is scarce and will be even less, says Galeotti. – Putin has fewer resources, its task is complicated". Firstly, the deteriorating economic situation. Disagreement with the West that followed the annexation of Crimea and intensified after allegations of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and the use of chemical warfare agents in the UK means that the probability of the lifting of painful economic sanctions is low. Stagnant pit In a March address to the Federal Assembly and in his inaugural address in may, Putin called for a technological breakthrough, which will give impetus to the economy and raise the standard of living. However, it is not yet specifies nothing; on the contrary, the head of the chamber Alexei Kudrin warned in November that the economy is in the most protracted and deep decline since the Second world war, and on 2 January said that the inflation rate exceeded government forecasts. Russia got into the "stagnant pit", and any new Western sanctions could worsen the situation, according to Kudrin, the former Finance Minister in the Putin government in the Golden years of oil. He says that sanctions hurt the development of Western technology, which in turn will make it impossible to achieve a breakthrough, which was demanded by the President of the Russian Federation. Sanctions or not, Putin declared task of doubling GDP by 2021 – about the time he, according to analysts, could tell what it plans to do after 2024, the end of his second consecutive term and under the Constitution he can't go to the polls – seems unattainable. At the beginning of the current presidential term, Putin also called upon to halve the number of poor in a period of six years. Poverty and pensions November 21, only nine months later, founded by the President of the Russian Academy of national economy and public administration released a report showing that poverty is more acute than said state statistics: 22% of citizens live below the poverty line, 36% spend most of their income on food and clothing. In addition, before Putin is the problem of pensions. In June the government after years of hesitation, has suggested to raise the retirement age to 65 years for men and 60 for women. Economists argue that reform is long overdue. However, it caused anger and perceived by Russians as a violation of the contract between the people and the government, which Putin had followed in the days of economic prosperity of the 2000s: you support me politically, I will – economically. In Russia relatively low life expectancy, and raising the retirement age was seen as a stab in the back. After a surge of protests and popular discontent in the summer of this year, Putin tried to distance himself from reform. However, on 3 September, he signed the law, and, according to opinion polls, his approval rating fell. Who is to blame? In the past Putin with the help of state media regularly managed to shift responsibility for Russian problems on others – usually to the West, the government, incompetent and corrupt officials. However, a survey conducted in late November by the "Levada-center" showed that 61% of Russians believe Putin is responsible for the problems of the country – this is a significant increase compared to last year, while 22% believe that he was "partially responsible". The overall rate of 83% is a historical record. If presidential elections were held in the time of the survey, Putin would have voted 56% of respondents, 10% less than the year before. In September, Putin began the problems in the regions. Candidates from "United Russia" has lost in four regions of Russia, and the Kremlin had to go on a trick to achieve acceptable results. The expert of the Moscow Carnegie center Konstantin Haase believes that the elections showed that the Crimean consensus is dead, "Protest, discontent, insecurity – these are the results of the voting. the largest coalition of support for the current government since 1991 ceased to exist". TV against the refrigerator Enthusiasm was asleep, and now many Russians fear for their future, and the Kremlin is in no hurry to reassure them, said the head of the analytical company R. Politik Tatyana Stanovaya: "Mood "Crimea is our" go to history, attention has gradually shifted from the TV to the refrigerator, trouble falling standards of living and social injustice to the fore". The signs of trouble quite a lot. Correspondent Bi-bi-si in Moscow points out: be in the official "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" reports that weapons are allocated 1.5 trillion rubles, and the rest of the Russian press writes that "the Russians is, first and foremost poor people" and that "taxes are rising faster than wages", "the cost of sausages can grow by nearly 30%". The Russian economy is now in recession, as in 2014-2016, after the fall of oil prices and the Western sanctions because of military aggression in Ukraine, but a study by Deloitte, dedicated to the new year holidays, showed that 61% of Russians believe that the recession is. Last year there were 10% less. The recent measurement of "consumer confidence index" found that she was in serious deficit, and is dominated by pessimism and anxiety about rising prices.
In the study planning horizon of the future, conducted by "Levada center" in October, 46% of Russians chose the option "don't know what will happen to me even in the coming months", which is 10% higher than in may 2016. Nepotism, corruption and a dismal Breakfast "Russians are tired of sitting in the hole," – says the analyst of "Levada-center" Alexei Levin in his column in the "Gazette". Annual business Breakfast "Vedomosti" on New year's eve "has never been so dark", as this year, said the expert on international relations Alexander Gabuev. Sanctions almost never mentioned, but the real problems was called the increase in the share of state property, as well as "nepotism, police pressure, corruption." With the annexation of Crimea was followed by a series of aggressive moves that draw attention to Russia and increasing its importance on the world stage. But at what cost? Everywhere I see Putin's footprint – even if not always justified. Fears that the children's cartoon "Masha and the Bear" is a hybrid weapon of war or that Russia is behind the protests of the "yellow jackets" in France, is the consequences of the international image of the Kremlin like a giant puppeteer, threateningly hanging over illuminated by the spotlights of the stage. Starting in 2014 almost all of the steps that Russia did in international politics – or that it was attributed – has drawn criticism and condemnation in the West. Putin is accused of supporting the bloody dictator in Syria and use of chemical warfare agents in the UK. Putin himself probably believes some of these steps in his victory, however, if not defeat, the victory Pyrrhic. For example, if the Russian intervention influenced the outcome of the US presidential election in 2016, to improve relations between the two countries, it failed; two years later, they remain worse than ever. Worst enemy If the seizure of Crimea and the separatist war in Ukraine was to keep Kyiv in Moscow's orbit, the result was the opposite: Russia alienated the people with whom her for over thousands of years share a common destiny. "Russia is now forced to live next to a country that considers its worst enemy," tweeted the Director of the Moscow Carnegie center Dmitri Trenin. This is clearly negative for Putin, the result was manifested in the fact that the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches 15 Dec created one Church, not subordinate to Moscow, "the Church without Putin," as he put Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who was not admitted to the presidential elections in March, believes that Putin is doing exactly what he accuses the West – spoil Moscow's relations with its neighbors and weaken Russia. "What was created hundreds of years was destroyed by Putin and his idiots for four years. Putin – the enemy of the Russian world". Another major critic of the regime, Mikhail Khodorkovsky also believes that Putin does not restore Russia's reputation and undermine her. "The Kremlin in its current form, while Putin will not leave, never be perceived as a political partner," said Khodorkovsky in an interview. Other experts say that Putin enforces the feeling of a besieged fortress, and is fuelling anti-Western sentiment to strengthen their position, to divert attention from domestic problems. However, the Crimean euphoria faded, and now he will have to find new resources, and it is not a trivial task. Another external aggression, for example, accession or subjugation of Belarus, it may be too costly and difficult to implement, not to mention the unpredictable consequences. "The attempt to fully integrate Belarus into Russia lead to a new crisis," – said Trenin. But what would the Russians, requires huge political will and may be associated with risks, which Putin is now not needed. "Any economic improvement will require changes to the entire system," said Galeotti, for example, establishing the rule of law and fight against corruption in the higher echelons. "I don't see he has neither the desire nor the power to essentially declare war on his own elite." In any case, the President has brought Russia to where it will be difficult to bring himself to Putin, or the next ruler. "While the country will not make back all of Putin's steps in the direction of isolation and messianism and is not aware of a part of a greater whole, it is doomed to lag behind economically, demographically and intellectually," writes Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky.
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