Putin softens approach as approval ratings plunge

Russian journalist Ivan Golunov (centre) leaving the Russian Interior Ministry's Main Investigative Directorate in Moscow last week. He was released after nearly a week under house arrest over drug allegations, following an unprecedented show of prot
Russian journalist Ivan Golunov (centre) leaving the Russian Interior Ministry's Main Investigative Directorate in Moscow last week. He was released after nearly a week under house arrest over drug allegations, following an unprecedented show of protest. His supporters say the charges were made up after he exposed corruption among Moscow city officials. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Pressure on Kremlin as arbitrary arrests hit investor confidence

The arrest and subsequent release of Russian journalist Ivan Golunov last Wednesday, after almost a week under house arrest over allegations of drug possession, come at a difficult time for President Vladimir Putin.

Used to sky-high approval ratings that have edged past 90 per cent previously, the Russian President is now experiencing a low not seen in many years. Last month, Russians' trust in Mr Putin fell to 31.7 per cent, according to data from state-run pollster WCIOM.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2019, with the headline 'Putin softens approach as approval ratings plunge'. Print Edition | Subscribe