Russian President Vladimir Putin may face international disapproval from the West over his Crimean actions, but at home, he's enjoying his highest approval ratings in years. Before the invasion, the respected Levada Center found that 65 percent of respondents approved of Putin's leadership. And a poll of Russian attitudes in early March—right as Russian troops were entering Crimea—found that nearly 68 percent of respondents approved of Putin's job performance.
Putin's popularity also seems to grow the more liberal institutions he undermines. And, in a 2009 poll, nearly 60 percent of Russians said they "deeply regret" the Soviet Union's demise. Clearly, notes David Harsanyi, the people who vote for the presidents of Russia and the United States are unrelated, emerging from distinct historical, moral, and ideological perspectives. Americans need to stop pretending democracy is a panacea and start accepting the fact that most people don't view the world as we do.