MOSCOW, July 18 (UPI) -- A poll released Friday indicates Russian respondents' approval rating of President Vladimir Putin's job performance is the highest since 2008.
The Gallup poll says 83 percent approve of Putin's work, up from 54 percent last year. Since then, Russia presented a Winter Olympics extravaganza influenced heavily by Russian symbolism and patriotism, and seized Crimea from neighboring Ukraine.
The poll was taken prior to Thursday's crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine.
A majority of Russians, 73 percent, believe the country is headed in the right direction. 78 percent claim confidence in the military, and 64 percent are confident of its government. While only 39 percent say they have confidence in the honesty of Russian elections, Gallup points out that figure is a record high for Russia.
Approval of the United States fell to four percent from 16 percent in 2013, and of the European Union, six percent, down from 21 percent. U.S. and EU sanctions were enforced after Crimea's annexation.
The poll was taken among 2,200 Russian adults between April 22 and June 9, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percent.