Putin’s Popularity Skyrockets After Syria Pullout

Putin’s Popularity Skyrockets After Syria Pullout

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Russia’s leader is becoming more popular by the day. The problem is, it’s by design.

A growing pro-Kremlin contingent in Europe, likely emboldened by Russia’s decision to withdraw most of its forces from Syria, is tipping popular sentiment further toward President Vladimir Putin.

The most pressing of the issues vital to Putin is European Union sanctions against Russia, introduced in the wake of Moscow’sintervention in Ukraine in 2014. It’s hard to say whether the EU can preserve unity on the subject for much longer, said Petras Vaitekūnas, the former Lithuanian foreign minister, who advises the Ukrainian Security Council.

“I expect big problems with that, and with our ability to repulse Putin’s onslaught,” he said.

Ten days ago, yet another far-right party supporting Russia gained a foothold in an EU country, this time Slovakia. People’s Party, Our Slovakia won 8% of the vote in national elections, joining a burgeoning club including Hungary’s Jobbik, Greece’s Golden Dawn and Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France.

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