As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings fall at home, a state-owned television channel has unveiled an hourlong weekly program devoted to the leader’s comings and goings. Moscow. Kremlin. Putin. aired for the first time last week with enough heavy-handed, pro-Kremlin propaganda to make Joseph Stalin proud.
Putin’s approval rating fell to 67 percent in July after the government raised the age requirements for pension eligibility, according to the Levada polling organization. That number is high by American standards but dismal for the Russian autocrat, who has enjoyed approval numbers in the 80s for much of his 17 years as either president or prime minister.
The first installment of the program on Rossiya 1 featured interviews with Putin’s spokesman and the Kremlin pool reporter who covered the president’s activities last week, as well as a segment about Putin taking a break in the mountains last month.
Quizzed by the show’s host about Putin’s recent meeting with gifted children and his supposed love for the youth, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “Putin loves not only children, he loves people in general. He’s a very humane person.” —L.L.