Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a joint news conference with Swiss Federal President Didier Burkhalter in the Kremlin in Moscow, Wednesday, May 7, 2014.(AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)
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Intelligent, competent, experienced, decisive and attractive – that is how Russians view Vladimir Putin, who celebrated a decade as president Wednesday amid and slowing economic growth and heightened tensions with the West over Ukraine.The state-funded VTsIOM last month found that 61-66 percent said they trusted Putin, the highest figure since at least January 2006 . Just 3 percent mistrusted Putin, the lowest level since November 2010 . In annexing Crimea – handed to Ukraine in 1954 by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev – Putin tapped into Russians' national pride and a widespread feeling that the Black Sea peninsula was Russian anyway.Data from Levada and VTsIOM indicates broad support among Russians for Putin's Ukraine policy, including the annexation of Crimea on March 21, and Putin's drive to re-establish Moscow's influence over some of its ex-Soviet neighbors.
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