(CNN) — While the U.S. economy surges in 2014, posting the biggest jobs numbers in 15 years, the Russian economy is tanking straight into a recession after a bludgeon of Western sanctions. But the economic news hasn't translated to presidential approval ratings — in either country.
President Barack Obama has been facing some of his lowest job approval numbers this year while public support in Russia for President Vladimir Putin has surged over the last year to record highs. […]
Henry Hale, an international affairs professor at The George Washington University specializing in Russian politics, said on the whole, the polls reflect the reality on the ground of popular support for Putin.
"I don't think Russians are really hiding their feelings," Hale said, adding that the polls indicate support for Putin, but not necessarily the depth of that support.
Media propaganda plays a key role in bolstering Putin's popularity, Hale said, especially in the portrayal of Ukraine's popular revolt as a fascist takeover and in portraying the annexation of Crimea as, essentially, a rescue mission. […]
See the full article ("Obama gets no credit, Putin gets no blame for economy," Dec. 5) © CNN
Also, listen to Henry Hale on the syndicated radio talk show Scholar’s Circle with host Host Maria Armoudian and University of Chicago's Martha Merritt discussing Russia’s relations with the West (Nov. 16). "Russian war planes over Europe and war ships near Australia. What do these and other demonstrations of power mean in the current politics between Russia and the West?"