IMAGE OF A POLITICAL LEADER IN RUSSIAN
Published: Collected research articles, Bulletin of Russian Communication Association "THEORY OF COMMUNICATION AND APPLIED COMMUNICATION", Issue 1 / Edited by I.N. Rozina, Rostov-on-Don: Institute of Management, Business and Law Publishing, 2002. - 168 p. . C. 110-118.
The word "image" is translated from English as image, portrayal. Image on the picture of life, in people's eyes. It's very difficult to find anyone who doesn't really care about it.
As a rule we examine familiar and unfamiliar people, paying attention to peculiarities of their appearance, their clothes, their behaviour. So do they. They also don't leave us without attention, evaluating both positive and negative sides of our outward appearance. In our days our image in the eyes of familiar and unfamiliar people has a very important "communicative" function. Appearance - is a symbol, that without any word will tell the others on what step of social stairs you stand, what supposed professional range you belong to and what character and temperament you have. Image influences not only on people's perception but also on the perception of yourself.
The problem of leader's was always in the center of analysis of Russian policy. None of the experts doubt that in all times from Ivan the Great till Eltsin, political process in our country was much defined by its personality components.
The Soviet period brought a new type of leader and raised the problem of its lenemitation in a new way. Even just a simple enumeration of the highest leaders of Soviet time: Lenin, Stalin, Khruschev, Brezhnev - shows that the general basis in a form of political regime doesn't mean the uniformity in the type of leadership. A wide-spread conception, interpreting the Soviet time leadership in terms of authoritarism-totalitarianism, doesn't give an adequate explanation to psychological differences of enumerated politicians. We still can't understand why the years of their governing were so much different and to what degree the reason of differences is the peculiarities of personality and to what degree - nature of the system.
As regards charismatic characters, it's clear that they had strongly marked individuality. Here is a recognized portrait of a political figure of that time on all the power levels: stock phrases, featureless appearance of unattractive and often very elderly and "identical" people. Moreover for those who were making their political career it was just contra-indicated to stand out and to show individuality.
From the point of view of style Gorbachev and other Perestroika leaders' accession to power was revolutionary. Bright, unique individualities came into politics. Their speech, gestures, actions became coloured depending on their personalities. The more different from the previous leaders and more critical with respect to them they were, the more real was their chance to rise. Since 1985 politics was becoming more public.
In the last years a new political fashion was outlined. An "industrial manager" replaced a "showman". A classical example of such type of leader is Moscow mayor Luzhkov - a "pure professional", stressing in every possible way that he is little interested in politics. Today's "industrial manager" is a public, flexible and non-ordinary politician, gifted with communicative qualities, who uses local colouring in his work and solves actively everyday problems of the citizens. So we may say that:
1. The factor of personality is of great importance in Russian politics at all stages irrespective of the particular leaders' qualities, their merits and demerits and whether the leader was a simple bereaucrat or a bright individuality.
2. Only after the public policy has developed individuality proper was considered for the first time as an indispensable component of the leadership.
3. Social and political crisis of the last years required from the leaders the demonstration of their personal potential. At the same time the citizens appraise the set of personal variable not only in a whole, but also in a differential way in a context of political situation.
Analyzing the image of politician 3 measurements of personality, suggested by G. Osgood were used: attractiveness, power and activity. The mentioned parameters are widely used in political psychology both for appraisal the real politician and for describing his "ideal prototype".
The analysis of the evolution of Russian political leaders' images was done on the basis of the Moscow research according to the common methods in 3 stages: in March-April 1996 (before the presidential election), at the end of September 1996 (after the election) and in March 1997. In the first case about 250 people were surveyed, in the second and third cases - about 200 people.
The results of the research presented 3 age groups (18-30, 31-50, 51-75 years old) proportionally, approximately in equal quality of men and women, educated and non-educated people. Professional structure of the examined people is also quite diverse: students, housewives, pensioners and people engaged in intellectual and manual work. By the selection of the responders their political preferences were also taken into account: approximately a third part of the examined people voted for Eltsin or had the liberate orientation, another third part included the supporters of the communists and the other part - apolitical people.
The procedure of research included the focused interview with the presentation of the photoportrait according to 12, 15 and 9 leading Russian politicians as stimulant materials. The processing of data was held with the help of the responders' appraisals concerning the personal qualities of the leaders which were done in scales and after this followed the distinguishing of the appraisals of the authoritative persons into rational and unconscious layers. Three main scales of perception of the leaders' personal qualities were built: the scale of attractiveness, the scale of power and the scale of activity. The distant methods were used to measure the personal determinant of the political choice of citizens. The essence of this approach's advantages is that comparing the data of our research with the results of the last parliamentary (1995) and presidential (1996) elections it managed to specify the personal characteristics which correlated with the decisions of the citizens to vote for the definite candidate.
The aim of the research is to bring out the personal characteristics which influence to the activity of the politician independently whether the responder knows anything about him or even recognizes him.
Full text in Word
Titova Ekaterina V.
Ph.D., Associated Professor,
Department of Psicology,
The Institute of Management, Business and Law,
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