There's an old Russian proverb that goes, "The economy is a good servant, but a bad master." Apparently, the saying doesn't apply to Vladimir Putin. The Russian ruble is currently in the midst of an historic landslide; Russia's central bank jacked interest rates up nearly seven points on Tuesday to counter the currency's two-day, 20-percent fall. And yet today also brought news that the Russian president had emerged from a as the country's "Man of the Year"—for the fifteenth straight year.
The Kremlin-touted survey—reported In 2013, only 32 percent of Russians gave him the nod.on December 7 among 1,500 respondents across 43 Russian regions—found that 68 percent of Russians placed Putin in first place on a list of national politicians and public figures who deserved the title "man of the year," Russia's Interfax news agency
By that (admittedly dubious) measure, Putin's popularity has doubled in the months since he annexed Crimea and backed pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine (Putin's approval rating hit a peak in August and still remains high). During the same period, the Russian economy has gone from being a relatively good servant to a pretty cruel master. International sanctions levied in response to the Ukraine crisis have stung Russia and the price of oil has dropped, dealing another blow to the oil-exporting country.