May 25, 2023 -EuroNews -Approval of Russia has plunged in neighbouring countries, who are wary of a bullish Moscow which has lost its traditional role as a regional power broker.
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has lost a significant amount of support in countries which were historically part of its sphere of influence.
A recent Gallup report shows that in many – but not all – states that were once part of the Soviet Union, approval of the Russian leadership took a hit between 2021 and 2022.
This is at odds with what President Vladimir Putin, who seeks to restore “Russian dominance”, possibly wanted to obtain.
In countries like Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic states – traditionally warier of Russia as a problematic and often pushy neighbour – approval of the Kremlin has dropped from levels already below 20% to 0% or near 0%.
In countries which have been historically sympathetic to the Russian leadership, like Armenia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, the drop in popularity for the Russian leadership has been even more dramatic.
Falls in popularity for Russia in states with complex ethnic situations like Kazakhstan and Moldova have been linked to mounting concerns over possible attempts by Moscow to take over their territories.
In Kazakhstan, the presence of a large ethnic Russian population at the border is cause for concern, as these people are seen as potentially more sympathetic to Moscow than Astana.
Russian peacekeepers in the breakaway region of Transnistria in Moldova have caused fear that Moscow might want to connect the area to its territory if it succeeds in defeating the Ukrainian forces.