Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named the "Winner of the Year 2023" by the French newspaper Le Parisien.
This 'title' comes as Putin faces the upcoming presidential election in March 2024, which is anticipated to be a mere formality for him. The Russian leader has regained ground in Ukraine, emerged from international isolation, and relies on a resilient economy and strong propaganda at home.
According to Le Parisien, Putin, who visited a military hospital in Moscow on January 1st, appears more popular than ever. With the presidential election just three months away, where he seeks a fifth term, Putin's popularity seems unshaken.
"He has never been more popular, I am sure he will win in the first round," a former Russian diplomat recently shared, reflecting the widespread belief in Putin's enduring appeal.
The year 2023, despite starting with military stagnation in Ukraine and marked by the spectacular rebellion of Prigogine last summer, ended on a rather positive note for the Kremlin leader.
During his annual marathon press conference on December 14, Putin displayed optimism and confidence in the future. In his New Year's Eve address, he praised a "united" Russia that will "never retreat." Furthermore, Putin announced on January 1st that Russia would "intensify" its strikes on military targets in Ukraine in retaliation for the Ukrainian army's bombing of the Russian city of Belgorod.