Проблемы современного мира и пути их решения

4. Political manipulation in election campaign

Беляева А. К.

Беляева А.К.
Руководитель Хуснулина Р.Р.

Беляева Алина Константиновна – студентка (бакалавр), Московский государственный университет имени М.В. Ломоносова, факультет государственного управления, Москва, Россия.

E-mail: alinka.belyaeva.97@mail.ru

Annotation. The problem of the relationship between government and society has been worrying humanity from the most ancient times. Gradually, people began to be divided into administrators and managers. Consequently, the term politics is defined as the science of managing people. Rating, that is, popularity is the main reason for the success of a social movement, a party or a specific candidate in elections. Therefore, candidates for power need to form favorable public opinion. Often the influence with public opinion can be illegal and dangerous, that is why it is necessary to understand the mechanisms of the functioning of the system of political manipulation in Russia.

Key words: political manipulation, politics, election, power, election campaign, Boris Yeltsin election in 1996, Vladimir Putin election in 2000, latent electoral technologies .

I. The essence of political manipulation

Political manipulation is a latent management of the people political consciousness and behavior, in order to force them to act or not to act in the interests of the manipulator. In fact, supporters of Nikola Machiavelli believe that politics is the art of manipulating people.

Important characteristics of any manipulation are closeness, illusion, invisible mechanism, consciousness psychological influence, in order to form certain beliefs and preferences. If the manipulation object believes that everything that happens is natural and inevitable, the success of manipulation is guaranteed.

The goal of political manipulation is obtaining, implementation and maintenance of power through practice of pre-election technologies and the method for conducting election campaigns.

There are some kinds of tools of political manipulation in order to solve problems and achieve the goals successfully:

• legal and illegal norms;

• direct and latent;

• agitational, economic, administrative and provocative;

• advertising and anti-advertising;

• interindividual, group and large-scale;

• printed, electronic and external

All tools of political manipulation are based on the creation and introduction of social myths into the society consciousness. Erich Fromm claimed: “political manipulation denies a person ability to make a complete picture of the world, replaces it with an abstract mosaic of related facts”.

II. Election campaign tactics and the formation of the image

The pre-election strategy is a system of events that are conducted by election staffs of candidates during the election campaign. To conduct a successful strategy, it is necessary to evaluate the characteristics of the candidate and compare them with the lifestyle and aspirations of the voters.

Election campaign candidates try to analyze the behavior of competitors, tactics, words and gestures building their image. The image includes the candidate personal qualities, charm, education, work experience and political ideology.

The main channels of social communication are:

• Media

• Candidate own publication

• Agitation materials

• Meeting with voters

The candidate should constantly satisfy his voters that is why sometimes they invite sportsmen and well-known artists as attributes of their campaign.

III. Negative latent elements of electoral technologies

1. Candidates may bribe various groups of voters, primarily pensioners, by offering them products and services with discounts, either at reduced prices or free of charge. Candidates spend tea-drinking, lunches for pensioners, charitable actions, free legal consultations, hot telephone lines. All these methods attract the sympathy of the elderly as the most active group of the electorate.

2. Word manipulative role

American political scientist Harold Lasswell is the founder of the scientific direction, devoted to the role of the word in propaganda. He studied the methods of selection words to transfer the right meaning and developed the system of creating political myths. In addition, Adolf Hitler in his book “My Struggle” said: “…only the magical power of the spoken word change history”. For example, introducing a free market, international terrorism, protecting human rights – all these phrases force a person to judge not the events, but the names themselves.

3. “Labeling” is also the element of language manipulation. This method allows to discredit a person or an idea, for example, to present a patriot as “fascist”. The labeling is based on stereotypes in the mass consciousness.

4. Corrupt facts in the media

A vivid example is compromising materials on the candidate. Due to them, the candidate’s rating may fall significantly.

You see, compromising material is a very weak political technology for if the dirt is very tough, people will begin to feel sorry for the person and thereby will raise his rating.

There are ways to protect against compromising material:

• to warn the public about the possibility of early compromising

• bring the blame to the absurd

• just keep silent

Another examples such as gossip, photos of villas and yachts, connection with the criminal world, natural children – all these cause electorate hostility.

IV. Examples of political manipulation in elections

1. Very strong political manipulation was used in the election of Boris Yeltsin in 1996. Political technologies sought to annul the weak aspects of Yeltsin’s personality and activities and enhance the strengths in the public consciousness.

According to public opinion polls in 1996, most young people were not going to participate in the elections. It was necessary to change this trend. For this, many popular actors, singers and other representatives of show business were involved in the company “Vote or lose”. In addition, two music albums were recorded in the youth style “Yeltsin is our president” and “Vote or lose.” In addition, the “Choose your heart” campaign based on the videos “Believe. Love. Hope” was launched. The emphasis was on emotions, they told about Boris Yeltsin’s life, about his childhood, fate, and each video ended with the words “Believe. Love. Hope”. Yeltsin’s elected team used administrative resources such as state power. There was the slogan “freedom and democracy with Yeltsin” and “hunger, civil war and a concentration camp with Zyuganov”. Thus, Yeltsin became non-alternative candidate discredited Gennady Zyuganov.

2. Election of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in 2000.

Putin was nominated as a successor to Yeltsin. I suppose that he had a winning professional and personal image. The purpose of Putin’s election program was to combine the values of the communists and liberals, that is, to create an image acceptable to all candidates.

In his program speeches Vladimir Putin focused on patriotism, on the integration of all citizens around the national goal: “national dignity”, “united command spirit”, “state will”, and “the potential of a great power”. In addition, Putin’s program included many general phrases designed to approval by everyone such as “worthy life”. He did not define his positions on economic, social and political issues: it was a well-thought-out calculation for a specific position could not unite the majority of the population.


We examined the essence of political manipulation in elections. Its methods are constantly improving in modern Russia. Political manipulation is realized not only in the fact that people vote for the right candidate, but also that the population recognizes the rules of the game established by the ruling regime.

On the one hand, this is necessary for the current Russian political regime as a condition for its stable existence; on the other hand, it is dictated by scientific and technological progress, when new forms of control over the personality and its consciousness arise. I see the problem as unconscious desire of people to be misguided. Sometimes we rely on intuition and let ourselves to relax. At this moment our consciousness is vulnerable. It is necessary to constantly assess the situation soberly not only in politics, but in making any decisions, especially those relating to public welfare.


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[2] Hitler A. My struggle. M., 1998. 380 с.

[3] Yeltsin B. Presidential marathon. M., 2001. 428 с.

[4] Pugachev V.P., Soloviev A.I. Introduction to Political Science. Textbook for high school students. Training. Institutions. M., 1996.

[5] Fromm E. Flight from freedom. Minsk, 2004; 399