Surveys conducted over the summer by a team of academics, including Dr Sam Greene from the King’s Russia Institute, show that a faltering economy, COVID-19 and unease over the president’s unchecked power have damaged his standing with voters.
The findings were revealed in an article for the Washington Post.
The academic team asked about past and current support for the president among voters and also re-interviewed people spoken to for a survey conducted in 2019.
The academics found that the president may have lost up to 20 per cent of his support, with discontent at current living conditions and demands for accountability now stronger than at any time since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
However, with the election and political system in thrall to Mr Putin, the academics believe it is unlikely to affect the president’s performance in a round of regional elections scheduled to take place on 13 September – a ballot characterised by the Russian monitoring group Golos as rigged.