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Political Perception: Psychological Mechanisms and Political Implications in Russia

Helen Shestopal

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This article deals with political perception in Russia and it aims at answering two very different questions: one concerns the nature of political perception and it is fundamental for political psychology as a discipline, the other focuses on particular models of political practice, i.e. current Russian politics. This study assumes that electoral behaviour is affected by political perception which creates optics through which citizens see political objects in a different way. Such an interpretation of the problem is confirmed by the results of our studies in political perception in Russia that we have carried for nearly 20 years. These studies permitted us to accumulate research methods and results that make it possible not only to trace the swings of images of political leaders, political parties, authorities and the state, but also much before the serious political transformations of 2011-2012 to foresee them.

Keywords: Political perception – Russian politics – psycho-politics – Putin – Zhirinovsky