Despite the ongoing Ukraine conflict and a stagnating economy, President Putin’s approval ratings remain high at around 80%, while 71% of Russians have a negative opinion of the EU, according to the latest survey conducted by the Levada Centre in late January 2015. The latter figure has doubled since last year’s annexation of Crimea. EU-Russia relations are considered ‘hostile’ by 24% of respondents, compared to 1% a year ago. Some 40% of Russians would like to improve relations with Western countries, while 37% of respondents prefer to limit them. According to Lev Gudkov, Director of the Levada Centre, this change is partly to do with an aggressive propaganda campaign in the Russian media.