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This article presents material associated with the semantic reconstruction of the images of Russian political figures as viewed by young students, based on material from an empirical study conducted in 2018. While conducting research, students attending higher and secondary professional education institutions in Primorsky Krai were surveyed. Such an undertaking as a semantic reconstruction of the images of Russian political figures allowed for identifying both the substantive and the structural properties of each image. The categorical structure of the semantic space of views on political leaders was defined. The general categories – selected based on associations – primarily include “leadership”, “moral and human qualities”, “intellectual”, “negative personal traits” and “political symbols”. The aforementioned categories, which were selected from the material on associations, bear specific similarities with those categories which were established using factor analysis of semantic differential data. The general categories for evaluating leaders based on semantic differential data include, first of all, “intellectual and leadership qualities”, “greed and hypocrisy – kindness”, “aggression and rudeness – handsomeness”. Within the structure of the category “negative personal traits” we can trace subcategories which are inverse to (or which mirror) the positive traits (stupidity is the opposite of intelligence and wisdom, aggressiveness is contrary to kindness). Additionally the substantive characteristics of the images of Russia’s four leading political figures (according to young people) were identified. A comparative analysis of the images of Russian politicians shows that positive personal traits, according to the respondents, are most apparently exhibited by Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov. Incidentally both of them possess so called “leadership qualities” and high moral characteristics. Such data corresponds with modern Russian society’s demand for a competent, strong-willed and righteous leader. All in all the identified categories and groups of traits allow for reconstructing the organizational structure of subjective experience in perceiving political leaders, as well as the political thinking of young people. The data acquired in this study might be useful in the consequent study of the modern Russian people’s political awareness, and they could be used by political leaders and parties in conducting practical operations.
image, political leader, students, Primorye, political consciousness, youth
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