Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, November 28, 2011

Putin needs rebranding

One analyst suggests that the Putin political brand is getting old, just like those politicians Putin cited as models for his long term leadership earlier this month.

In Russia, Evidence of Misstep by Putin
Two months after Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin revealed his intention to reclaim the Russian presidency, he returned on Sunday to the same podium, facing the same sea of rippling flags, to accept his party’s nomination…

It is now clear that instead of restoring public confidence in the political system, the announcement that Mr. Putin and President Dmitri A. Medvedev would switch jobs annoyed many Russians. Mr. Putin’s approval rating briefly dipped to 61 percent this month, high by international standards but lower than at any point in a decade.

Meanwhile, the governing party, United Russia, has had to scale back its expectations for next Sunday’s parliamentary elections, when it is likely to lose the two-thirds majority it has held since 2007…

Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar who is studying the role of public opinion in Russian politics [said] “But something has changed. The biggest problem is that people have gotten fed up with them. If you look at long-serving leaders like Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, you see that their ratings tank in the latter half of the decade. It’s like the seven-year itch of politics.”…

Ms. Hill, who is studying fluctuations in poll numbers, said… The current dynamic, she said, is reminiscent of the late years of Lady Thatcher or Helmut Kohl, who also enjoyed great popularity early on…

“By the end, the brand is shot; you can’t rebrand it,” she said. Russian authorities, she said, “seem too confident that they can pull it off.”…

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