Communication Strategy of Political Leader’s Image Mythologization in Digital Space during the course of Election Campaign: Comparative Aspect

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In the present paper we address the issue of mythologization as one of the leading communication strategies of the political leader's image formation. Such strategy becomes particularly topical in the period of election campaigns, since political myth as a special form of mentality is able to influence voters' minds by constructing the 'enduring reality' of an action programme proclaimed by a candidate. The manipulative potential of a mythologization strategy in political communication is stipulated by the fact that myths are able to impress into the public mind the delusive reality models and to legitimize a political leader's authority in the voters' perception. With the help of this or that political myth the idea of a candidate's preference over all others is often fixed in voters' minds. In the modern communication space the role of mythologizing of a political leader's image in a digital space has been enhanced, as candidate's communication through social networks, blogs, video and audio hosting, etc., allow him to interact with voters more effectively, to personalize communication, get a feedback, to influence not only the consciousness, but also the subconscious using both verbal and non-verbal means. The video materials of one of the candidates for the presidency of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, posted on You Tube video hosting in the period of 2018 presidential election campaign, are chosen as the empirical base of this research. The subject of the present research is 'internal mythologization' (when a politician and his team are considered as a source of myth-making versus 'external mythologization' initiated by non-affiliated representatives of different social groups) as a communicative strategy for constructing political leader's image in election time. The paper describes the specificity of the representation of four main political myths (social ideal, enemy, identity community and hero-saviour) in communication of Vladimir Zhirinovsky as the 'Patriarch' of election campaigns in Russia and reveals the most significant myths for the formation of his political image. The most important concepts representing this or that myth are identified, the ways of their explication (verbal and visual, explicit and implicit) are revealed. An analysis of mythologization methods of V. Zhirinovsky's image, a candidate, who was running for president post for the sixth time on presidential election 2018, was compared to the mythologization methods of Pavel Grudinin's image as a new candidate for the Russian political agenda. The conducted analysis allowed to reveal the main characteristics of political leader's image mythologization in election period, namely - ideological charge and manipulativity, most clearly manifested in a candidate's communication in digital space.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2019 IEEE Communication Strategies in Digital Society Seminar, ComSDS 2019
Editors S. Shaposhnikov, L. Sharakhina
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781728115849
StatePublished - 7 May 2019

Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Social Psychology
  • Marketing
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management


  • communication strategy
  • digital environment
  • election campaign
  • external mythologization
  • ideological bias
  • image
  • internal mythologization
  • manipulation
  • political myth

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