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Coronavirus crisis rains on Putin’s Victory Day parade, and trust ratings continue to slide

The Russian leader is struggling to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and a collapse in the price of oil

Marc Bennetts, Moscow

A national plebiscite due to be held on April 22 to vote on extending Putin’s term has been postponed. And in place of priceless photo opportunities with world leaders, Putin, 67, is now faced with the perfect storm of a pandemic and a collapse in global prices for oil, the linchpin of the Russian economy.

“These twin challenges represent the biggest shock the Putin regime has ever faced and are likely to feed popular dissatisfaction,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, head of R.Politik, the political analysis firm.

The first rumblings of discontent have already begun to appear. Putin’s approval ratings hit an all-time low of 59% last week, according to an opinion poll by the independent Levada Centre think tank in Moscow. His trust ratings were 35%.

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