Psychological portrait of the Russian President

Putin's workshop is a bit cold, but it’s a false impression

As it is known, a public figure attracts an exaggerated interest of a huge number of people. Imperishable interest to our President is the best proof of that. On the "Dossier" web-site his biography is almost constantly among the first most wanted biographies in the Top 100 list. In such a situation psychologists couldn’t just stay aside. Their close attention was first attracted to the unusual way in which his election campaign was conducted. Of course, a psychologist can keep silent about certain things speaking with different people. However one can associate a person with this or that psychological type by saying it out loud, which in its turn can help one to draw far-reaching conclusions - if you know where to look.

We can remind you that the above-mentioned classification is based on K.G.Yuong's theory that proves that the basic set of human traits of character (around 80%) is predetermined even before a person is born. The Swiss scientist’s followers increased the number of human psychological types from eight to sixteen and identified for each of them basic traits of character ("the person's nucleus") that determine not only the manner of behavior, but also the person's potential capabilities that prompt the selection of his or her field of activities. 

Scientists determined Vladimir Putin's psychological type already during the elections. Muscovites set the pitch by calling Putin "an inspector". This psychological type is characterized primarily by dictatorial inclinations (Stalin belonged to it). However, representatives of the Leningrad psychological school didn’t agree with their Moscow colleagues. They put Putin among exemplary scientist-intellectuals, saying that he will take us to the bright future in a very soft way.  This is typical of "critics" to whom residents of Saint Petersburg added Putin.

We do not want to give unambiguous evaluations to the above schools. When determining the President’s psychological type the colleagues must have been fulfilling unconsciously a political order. After all, the psychologists' opinion has a big influence on how the person will be perceived politically. Putin is a stranger for Muscovites, that's why they made an attempt to scare us with horrible consequences of his rule. Residents of Saint Petersburg, on the contrary, drew a picture of a man who is close to us.

We have our own opinion about the President’s personal and professional qualities. Besides, we consider a person from international standards of the Association for Psychological Type, which guarantees, to a certain extent, the quality of the results of the research that analyze the person’s behavior from various aspects. Our diagnostics is based on processing of a huge number of data and on experts’ professional intuition coming from more than 20 years of work experience in this field. The final stage of the diagnostics was Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Urals Weapons Exhibition. All our psychological qualities are unified and commonly recognized. For greater reliability experts give their opinion about the degree of the person’s proximity to the standard. We should say right away that in Putin’s case this rate is over 80%.

Experts and scientists of the "Hunter" agency determined Putin’s psychological type as indubitable "Master".   
On the one hand, our professional interest to Putin’s personality is clear as it is, on the other hand, the results of the research can be applied in practice. At that time power in Russia was changed not in shape, but in essence. Note that the XX-th century gave the world the periodical model of the democratic societies’ development: from "the left" to "the right" and back. This world mechanism of change in tendencies is reflected in democratic change of leaders pursuing this or that policy. This is a true mechanism of democracy, no matter what its adversaries say. England can serve as a vivid example of democratic change of power: the conservatives there were once again replaced by socialists. It should be mentioned that this choice takes place on the level of subconscious expectations by the people (collective subconscious, according to K.Young).

The same is true of Russia: under Yeltsin we had a drastic shift to the right, whereas now we witness a shift to the left. The government of the right conducted extremely unpopular policy: it destroyed the planned statehood, the one party system and staked everything on free market economy. The left government started to strengthen the role of the state, to revive patriotism, to restore law and order, to introduce planning mechanisms into economy.
In such a situation it is very important that the political platform should coincide with the potential abilities of the person that puts it into practice: it is essential that the qualities of the leader’s psychological type match the tasks he solves "as a key fits the lock".  

In other words, we all subconsciously waited for Putin or, to be more precise, a person of his psychological type. Therefore the transition from “the late Yeltsin” era to the “early Putin” era was natural. Our society got ripe for a conservative shift to the left, which is the only explanation for Putin’s unprecedented victory at the elections. He reflected this mood very precisely in his personal qualities.

What extraordinary qualities distinguish the psychological type of "Master"?

For full trustworthiness we give the type’s personal and professional portrait in detail.


Basic (standard) characteristics of the psychological type "Master" (international abbreviation – ISTP).

I. Strong qualities:
He can take reasonable and useful steps. He adapts new ideas to practice and gains maximum benefit from them.
He is characterized by low-key, quiet persistence leading to obligatory accomplishment of everything he begins, modesty.
He is inventive in private life and in work that he enjoys.
He is an aesthete who fully trusts his taste and prefers moderation and harmony.
He values friendship. He does not impose his opinion on any one, but in the end everything usually turns out the way he wanted. He is happy when somebody likes the results of his work.
He has a reputation of an accurate person. He does not like to drag out his meetings.
He is stress-proof, in dangerous situations he behaves pronouncedly in cold blood. Danger alerts arouse not fear, but an interest in him, a desire to test himself.

II. Drawbacks:
He is inclined to skepticism, he likes to analyze things and to joke with people.
He usually does not show his emotions and feelings in public, although he is very impressionable.
He is a moody person: his bad mood is always followed by increased efficiency.
He is reticent, he does not like liberties, he can unobtrusively take a person down a peg or two.
He is truly efficient only in things that bring him personal satisfaction, which can make an impression that he is a lazy person.
He will not take up a pointless work.
He doesn't like a slow manner of talking, he likes clear and confident utterances.

III. One cannot demand or expect from him:
- emotional constant involvement in what goes on around him;
- compassion and sympathy to those who blame their failures on others;
- taking for granted projects that are not studied carefully.
This is supposed to be at least 80% true. We will not burden the reader with details of distant diagnostics on determining the psychological type, but we can explain that on one important example. In answer to a reporter’s question about his behavior in critical situations Putin said that he is calm, “even extremely calm”. He went on: “Later when I studied in intelligence school one of my evaluation forms read that I had a reduced sense of danger, which was considered a negative quality”.* We, however, do not consider it a shortcoming. Moreover, psychologists recommend "Masters" in their carrier-guidance cards to pursue carrier in secret service. In this sphere such people are practically ideal, which, by the way, is very well proved by our President’s biography.  
Ok, secret service is secret service, but, as it turned out, not everyone can govern the country. How good is “Master” in that? We believe everything will become crystal clear after you read the description of the style of management of those who belong to this psychological type.

He strives to coordinate his work with the work of the members of the group he heads, to determine tasks, to put forward and support ideas and undertakings, to bring a matter to an end in spite of the difficulties. He is oriented at collective efforts. He strives to create psychological atmosphere where people would get satisfaction from work.
He establishes business contacts with well-wishing coldness. He is usually unemotional in conversations, although there is always a polite smile on his face. He tries to understand another person not through his individual characteristics, but in full: without differentiation between business and non-business qualities. To achieve a common goal he strives to create confidential relations with his partner and convince him of their stable character. He always fulfills his obligations very precisely.
His active position is oriented at situation and logic of facts. In such logic the most crucial goals are those of adaptation to circumstances. Subjective personal tendencies are not primary. The correct mode of actions is prompted by real life, not a dogmatic scheme, instructions or prescriptions.
He is inclined to a compromise type of behavior. He can equally compete, cooperate, and cut compromise deals depending on circumstances. In case of misunderstandings he is guided by the code of honor, tries to solve the problem without going to official institutions.
We can add, having altered a little bit Mr.Gerashchenko’s statement “Money likes silence”, that in such situation Russia must be governed in a quiet way. Noise is out of place here. Putin belongs to the category of leaders who do not create unnecessary stir and fuss around their work.

We have a rare type of leader who:
1. can make right decisions in extreme situations objectively and in cold blood;
2. pursues any case flexibly and persistently to the end;
3. has a conservative orientation of a manager (“leader-paternalist” who feels a deep inner responsibility for what’s going on, who strives for harmonization of relations).

A few recommendations can be made in the end.
It's not a secret that a person's psychological peculiarities are better revealed in direct communication. Only a few meet the President face to face. Nevertheless governors and mayors have to do it from time to time. Psychologists are often asked whether we can “arm” them with certain pieces of advice so that their talks with the head of state would be fruitful and constructive. To a certain degree, we can. Here are such recommendations.

Advice to governors and mayors on how to behave with the President

When you meet V.Putin you should speak clearly and to the point in a confident voice.
You should feel when he is emotionally depressed and he will be grateful to his interlocutor who will raise his spirits with his lively questions and emotional energy.
His skill in various matters must be praised, irrespective of whether it is a technically good grip in judo or a clearly formulated thought in political negotiations.
You should remember that people of this psychological type have a great respect for the past and for the efforts of preserving the best things of the past. This can create a false impression of a man striving to return to the past.
His skeptical attitude to the present and the future can be broken by an expedient, clear and logically structured plan of actions.  
Do not think that this man doesn’t take your problems close to his heart. It is just a personal trait of people of this psychological type: they can hide their sensitiveness behind the mask of indifference.

Vladimir Tanayev, Ivan Karnaukh
Political psychologists
* The quotation is from the book “Talks with Vladimir Putin. Comments by himself” (Moscow, 2000)

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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey