Representations of an “Ideal” as a Factor of the Perception of a Political Leader in Reality

Representations of an “Ideal” as a Factor of the Perception of a Political Leader in Reality

Shestopal Ye.B.,

Prof., Head of the Chair of Sociology and Psychology of Politics, Dept. of Politics, Lomonosov Moscow State University,

elibrary_id: 104409 | ORCID: 0000-0003-4778-4327 | RESEARCHER_ID: I-4529-2018

Rogach N.N.,

post-graduate student of the Chair of Sociology and Psychology of Politics, Dept. of Politics, Lomonosov Moscow State University,

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2020.04.12

For citation:

Shestopal Ye.B., Rogach N.N. Representations of an “Ideal” as a Factor of the Perception of a Political Leader in Reality. – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No. 4. P. 166-180. (In Russ.).


The article is devoted to ideal representations of the Russian president as held by Russian citizens, and the influence of such ideals on how a leader is perceived in reality. There have been few attempts to study this phenomenon, beyond mainly opinion polls. From the perspective of Political Psychology, analyzing this issue is taking place for the first time. In the fall of 2019, two different qualitative studies were conducted: one being the study of Putin’s image in Russian society, the second being on the image of an ideal president. Methodology in both studies was comparable. This article describes the contents and mechanisms of how an ideal president is perceived. The theoretical part of the study tackles ideal representations in the framework of various political, psychological and sociological approaches, focusing predominantly on the theory of political perception. In the empirical part, the image of Putin and the image of the ideal president are described and compared on three scales: attractiveness, strength and activity. The study led to the discovery of the commonality and differences in the images of real and ideal presidents in the minds of Russian citizens, and concludes that ideal representations are responsible for the deepest level of political culture that determines people’s demands and expectations for real presidents. 

political perception, ideal representations, mass consciousness, image of an ideal president, image of V. Putin.


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Content No. 4, 2020

See also:

Shestopal Ye.B.,
Dynamics of Putin’s Perception in Russian Society (2000‑2015). – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No6

Pishcheva T.N., Vinogradova N.S., Nedova A.D.,
The image of Russia through prisms of political communications. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No4

Kasamara V.A., Sorokina A.A.,
Teenagers political consciousness: prosperous children vs street children. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No6

Ivannikova O.V.,
The Influence of the Situation in a Given Region on the Perception in It of Federal-Level Politicians: Kuban. – Polis. Political Studies. 2000. No4

Zverev A.L., Palitay I.S., Smulkina N.V., Rogozar A.I.,
Specifics of Political Perception in Contemporary Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No3



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