Putin’s Birthday and Cult of Personality in Russia

Oct. 7, 2019 Weekly Graphs

On October 7th, the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin is celebrating his 66th birthday. Putin has served as the head of state or head of government of Russia since 1999. This week’s V-Dem graph highlights the “Person of the Leader” indicator to illustrate the extent to which the chief executive is characterized as being endowed with extraordinary personal characteristics and/or leadership skills. This can include perception of a person as a father or mother of the nation, exceptionally heroic, moral, pious, or wise. 

Vladimir Putin is a controversial figure. His proponents view him as a strong, willful, and charismatic leader, who has spent his life making Russia one of the most powerful countries in the world. On the contrary, his opponents claim he is  responsible stoking conflicts in Chechnya, Syria, Georgia, and Ukraine. 

The graph illustrates the rise of personalism in Russia since the end of the Cold War. Since taking office, the cult of personality surrounding Putin as risen over time, resulting in significantly higher scores on this indicator when compared to the East-Central Europe region. Only Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been more cultivated as a perceived “Father of the Nation”. 

To learn more about V-Dem’s indicators and graphing tools, including on regime legitimation strategies, visit v-dem.net.

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