Thanks to a fierce propaganda campaign that's played out over state-controlled media here, few people realize the economic malaise is the Kremlin's own fault, says Denis Volkov, a researcher at the independent Levada Center think tank.
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Instead, many remain resentful of what state television insists are aggressive and irrational Western policies toward Russia.
"Almost no one understands the point of view of the other side," he says. "People do not even understand why the West is imposing sanctions, for example."
The Kremlin has bolstered its narrative with an ongoing onslaught against the last vestiges of independent media. Critical outlets have been emasculated or shuttered and their editors threatened or cowed.
That helps explain why even though 60 percent of Russians say they've noticed the hike in consumer prices, a whopping 82 percent of decided voters would reelect Putin in a snap presidential heat, according to fresh Levada statistics.
Some observers suggest Russia's economy can still float along while depending on its substantial foreign currency reserves — which hover around $400 billion — to stave off economic depression and widespread discontent.
But Aslund says the usable sum of those reserves is actually much smaller, while the price of oil may continue its steady slump.
"I think we are likely to see much more decline than anybody now predicts," he says.
Other observers say that while Putin can still count on the propaganda coup his state media machine has pulled off, it's only because Russians haven't had to cope with the downturn for long.
What comes next, says Volkov, is still anyone's guess.
On one hand, Putin has already successfully weathered a mass protest movement and defanged his political opposition. On the other, it's the first time his 14-year rule has been put through such economic trials.
"We're only in the very beginning of this situation," Volkov adds, "so it's rather hard to forecast how it will develop."