Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has
reached 80 percent, with a majority of Russians saying the country is heading in the
right direction, an independent pollster said Wednesday.
A poll by the Levada Center said public support for the Russian leader rose by 8
percent since Putin delivered an address to parliament on Crimea before the
predominantly Russian-speaking region rejoined Russia last week.
Levada said Putin’s approval rating peaked at 85 percent in spring 2008, when Dmitry
Medvedev, now prime minister, succeeded him as president.
Another poll by Levada last week said a majority of Russians believe their country is a
great power and an important player in the international arena.
Some 63 percent of respondents said modern Russia has regained the status of a
superpower, the highest level in the history of the poll, conducted by the Levada
Center since the 2000s.
Putin was named International Person of the Year by Britain’s The Times newspaper in
December, for succeeding in his ambition of reestablishing Moscow as a critical player
in solving international problems.
According to the poll released Wednesday, only 18 percent of respondents did not
approve of Putin’s performance as president.
The survey was conducted March 21-24 among 1,600 respondents across 130 cities
in Russia. The statistical margin of error was 3.4 percent.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that being
labeled the world’s most powerful person by Forbes magazine this year has made him
“more cautious,” his first-ever public comment on the issue.
“I appreciate Forbes experts’ opinion, but I personally believe that, first, it always
makes you cautious because it limits you a little bit – it can limit you – let’s say, in
making decisions,” Putin said in an interview with South Korea’s KBS broadcaster
ahead of a visit to Seoul.
“I prefer to pay less attention to such things,” he said, according to an
English-language transcript provided by the Kremlin press office. “If you pay too much
attention to that, it is going to influence the decision-making process. And this would
be most regrettable.”
In October, Putin was promoted to the top spot of the Forbes’ most powerful people
list from third place in 2012. The Russian leader this year was followed by US
President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Source: RIA Novosti
Newscast Media PARIS, France— French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Russia’s refusal to attend an international ministerial meeting on Syria in Paris on Thursday isolated the country from the Arab world and the international community.
“I’ve personally invited [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Mr. Lavrov, and I regret that Russia sticks to a policy that isolates it from both the Arab world and the international community,” Juppe told journalists in Paris.
Foreign ministers from 15 countries, including the United States, Germany, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are expected to attend the Paris meeting, which was initiated by the French Foreign Ministry. Moscow declined to the invitation, describing the meeting as “one-sided,” just as recent meetings of the so-called Friends of Syria group of countries in Tunisia and Turkey, because no representatives of the Syrian government have been invited.
“Russia’s approach to this kind of meeting is well-known,” he said. “This meeting is apparently aimed not at looking for the basis to launch inter-Syrian dialogue, but just the opposite, at deepening the divisions between the opposition and Damascus by encouraging the international isolation of the latter,” he said.
Juppe said on Wednesday the Paris talks were designed to “convey a message of firmness to Damascus,” as well to demonstrate support for the UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria. But Lukashevich said the initiative looked more like “destructive political amateurism.”
His comments echoed Wednesday’s statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who criticized attempts by some countries to “privatize” internationally-backed efforts to end the more-than-year-long crisis in the Arab country. The statement came after Tuesday’s meeting on Syria held by a group of Arab League states in Qatar, some of whose participants raised doubts over the Syrian government’s commitment to the Annan peace plan. Annan himself attended the meeting.
Thursday’s meeting in Paris will come just two days after the first meeting of the international working group on sanctions against the Syrian regime held in the French capital. Lukashevich said calls for new sanctions were “against consolidated decisions by the UN Security Council” regarding Annan’s mission.
More than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad last March, according to UN estimates. A fragile ceasefire has been in place in Syria for a week, although there have been reports of numerous violations of the truce by both government and opposition forces. A group of six UN observers have been deployed to Syria to monitor the ceasefire in line with a resolution approved by the Security Council last week, which provides for a 30-strong monitoring mission to be sent to the violence-hit Arab country.
On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended the Security Council approve a mission of 300 observers – 50 more than originally planned.