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Terrorist attacks and public approval and confidence in the Russian president: Evidence from time series analysis

Fedotenkov, Igor (2019): Terrorist attacks and public approval and confidence in the Russian president: Evidence from time series analysis.

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Abstract

In this paper we apply time series analysis to examine weekly data of Vladimir Putin’s approval and confidence ratings and their dependence on terrorist attacks. We find that minor terrorist attacks with few or no mortal casualties in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan increase Putin’s ratings, while major terrorist attacks, with more than four mortal casualties, have a negative impact. There is also evidence that terrorist attacks in other Russian regions reduce Putin’s public approval; however, this evidence is weaker and depends on the model specification. The effects of terrorist attacks on the confidence rating are indistinguishable from the statistical noise. Furthermore, we control for main annual media events with President Putin’s participation: the television Q&A program `Direct Line with V. Putin', address to the Federal Assembly and a large annual conference. All three media events increase the president’s approval, with `Direct Line' having the least effect. Only the large annual conference has a significant positive impact on respondents’ confidence in Putin.

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