According to Michele A. Berdy in a Moscow Times article, Putin “owes his great popularity with the Russian public to the way he speaks. He’s the first Russian president who sounds like the guy next door.”
His are not the folksy inaccuracies of Mikhail Gorbachev (ложьте for положите), the verbal tics of Boris Yeltsin (Понимаешь? You know?) or the malapropisms of Viktor Chernomyrdin (Мы всегда можем уметь—We can always be able). And it’s not that Putin’s speech is crude (though it can be salty), street-tough (though cop-talk sneaks in) or inappropriate (though it comes close). But it is plain-talking, straight, down-to-earth Russian. He calls it like he sees it.
She gives many examples, well worth reading if you know any Russian. (Via Taccuino di traduzione.)