Why is Vladimir Putin so popular in the USA?


Photo credit: REUTERS

Most readers are aware that Russian President Vladimir Putin has a very high popularity rating in his own country – a rating that most politicians  would die for. But it turns out he is also popular in the USA.

Putin came in at the number one spot in this year’s TIME 100 reader’s poll with 6.95% of the votes. According to TIME:

“Putin edged out rapper-singer CL (of the South Korean girl-group 2NE1) to claim the number one spot with 6.95% of the votes in the final tally. Pop stars Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Taylor Swift rounded out the top five with 2.6%, 1.9% and 1.8% of the votes, respectively.”

Putin was the only political leader in the top ten:

“Barack and Michelle Obama sat just outside the top 10 with 1.4% and 1.2% of the votes, respectively. Besides Putin, the only non-entertainers to crack the top 10 were the Dalai Lama (1.7%), Malala Yousafzai (1.6%) and Pope Francis. (1.5%).”


I guess Putin is happy with the result – perhaps he is doing something right.

But here’s the interesting thing:

“More than half of the votes — 57.38% — were cast within the United States. Canada and the United Kingdom followed with 5.54% and 4.55% respectively.”


One of the tamer cartoons demonising Putin

Despite continuous demonisation of Putin (and the Russian Federation) by the mass media in the US, UK and Canada in recent years he seems to be more popular than any other political leader – including the leaders of the countries where the readers live!

I wonder why that is? Is the naive demonisation counter-productive?

Do readers here have any suggestions?

Note: The TIME 100 readers’ poll closed April 10. It is not the same as the annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, spanning politics, entertainment, business, technology, science, religion and other fields. That is actually chosen by the editors of TIME – this year’s list will be unveiled April 16.

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7 responses to “Why is Vladimir Putin so popular in the USA?

  1. I can think of some reasons:
    * RT is not blocked yet
    *People hear him saying things which resonate.
    Like: Despite what people may have thought of the USSR regime he doesn’t think Stalin would have killed so many millions of the Red Indians the way the European immigrants to America did, or dropped atomic bombs on a country which had virtually surrendered.

    Brian Sandle


  2. Ken you offer the related topic: “Do you believe in God?” In “atheism”.

    It is said that Putin prays. Therefore he may have feeling for other religions. There are many Muslims in Russia and there have been problems and I think I posted the link to the Stephen Cohen/Larry King interview which said that for USA security they would do well to make friends with Putin who understands that problem.

    As for NZers we haven’t tried to solve the problem of indigenous belief in the same way as USA.

    A Definitive Introduction to the Holistic World View of the Maori

    Click to access Marsden_1992_Kaitiakitanga.pdf


  3. I suppose Google search arranges its output to suit the viewer. When I search for “Vladimir Putin” a comment of mine comes up about 9th. https://plus.google.com/104280411653147768587/posts/GkfJR6grioW

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am surprised he made this list. I guess being an aggressive, expansionist leader will get you there.



  5. Chalen, I think your comment illustrates the problem I was drawing attention to. Despite the demonisation of Putin in countries like the USA he is still capable of achieving such a high rating. Perhaps this demonisation is not working, or is backfiring?


  6. I suppose it depends on your definition of “working”. I think I’ve heard the saying that “there is no such thing as bad press”. Which means it’s all up to how you spin it. Make lemonade from the lemons.


  7. Chalen, I don’t think you are serious, or you are trying to confirm a bias. You explanation just doesn’t explain the ratings of either Putin or the other high runners in the poll.


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