(CNN) The economy's in the tank, the currency's crumbling, and he's risking diplomatic isolation for doubling down on Ukraine.
So how is it that Russian President Vladimir Putin's popularity is at a whopping 86%?
That's the conclusion of a poll conducted this month by the Levada Center. Last month, Putin's approval rating was at 85%.
The Levada-Center describes itself as an independent, non-governmental polling and sociological research organization.
And it has found that Putin's approval ratings have been holding steady in the mid-80s since around May last year, which incidentally is when the Ukraine/Crimea conflict bubbled up.
The answer is simple, says Ben Judah, author of "Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In and Out of Love with Vladimir Putin."
"That figure is made up," he told CNN last month. […]
See the full article: Vladimir Putin's approval rating? Now at a whopping 86%