Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin may be riding high in the latest opinion polls for Sunday’s presidential election, but what is it about the leader that is making him so popular in certain quarters?
Ninety-five-year-old Vera Smirnova sees Putin as the man who has given her a comfortable retirement. Slightly disabled, she has a daily carer and lives in a flat which costs her the equivalent of 40 euros a month.
“I’m very glad to live in peace. I have everything for a good life – a warm flat, plenty to eat, a good retirement pension,” she said.
Despite a vocal anti-Putin movement which is questioning the legitimacy of Russia’s democracy, the other candidates are trailing behind and might not even manage to force a second round run-off.
The pro-Putin journalist, Maxim Shevtchenko was clear who he would be voting for: “I think that even if Putin has some bad points and has made some mistakes, he is THE politician who is able to deliver the conditions necessary for developing our nation politically and ensuring its independence.”
Putin needs to secure just one vote more than 50 per cent for his re-election as president outright – something his rivals are determined to prevent.