Dr Alina Polyakova
Moscow's likely motivations for its military escalation in the Azov Sea and blockade of Kerch Strait: 1 Putin's declining approval ratings, 82% in April to 66% in October, tend to coincide with new foreign policy adventures to divert domestic pressure
There's another point about the media's addiction to flashy events. The 2017 Navalny-led protests received huge coverage, though Putin's approval didn't fall below 80% in 2017. Meanwhile, there's minimal coverage of Putin losing 16% approval in 6 months.