Prime Minister Putin visited the northern Caucasus and flew around in a helicopter for the benefit of television cameras. According to some polls, his approval rating has moved from the low teens to over 65 percent in the past two months. A presidential-preference poll rated him even with former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov at 18 percent. The Union of Right-wing Forces, a coalition led by “young reformers” Yegor Gaidar, Anatoly Chubais, and Boris Nemtsov, said it will probably back Putin’s presidential candidacy. That’s a pretty good political week for a gray ex-spy whose oratorical skills, it is said, can rouse a crowd to apathy.