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Bases Of Special Power English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 3621 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Every person in the world has different goals and interests, which he/she tries to reach. Some wants to be rich, others pay more attention to the look and some would like to develop new skills and abilities. If you take a second to think about it, you can probably find a connection between all of these statements. Hopefully you will agree with me if I say: every person in the world would like to have the power over others.

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Looking at the world, there are people who were born with a kind of power like attractive look or sense of humor. On the other hand there are people who need to work harder to learn how to get and use this power. The most powerful people in the world are those who are influencing others by using skills and resources which allow them to control the environment around them.

This report will focus on the different types of power and the way it could be used in real life. The theory will be based on the way Mr. Vladimir Putin uses his power.

“I love power. But it is as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies.” Quoted by Napoleon Bonaparte

The purpose of the report

The purpose of this report is to analyze and describe the power used by the individual persons in different aspects. Every person in the world possess some kind of power and it is just up to the individual how the power is going to be used and developed. In this case the theory about the power will be implied to one of the most powerful person in the world, the former President and current Prime Minister of Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

The choice of Vladimir Putin could be explained very easily. Compared to the other candidates like Obama or Chinese President Hu Jintao who are rated as most powerful people, Vladimir Putin’s power is much more visible. This is caused also by the conflicts and the way of influencing foreign and domestic diplomacy. American president Barack Obama will be used in the report for comparing the different ways of using the power.


The power is an essential part of the success, which means it is much more difficult to become rich, successful and popular without using the power. Some people think that the power is ultimate aphrodisiac and there are also people who look at the power as an absolute corrupter. The Forbes magazine reveals information and new comments about the world businessmen, political or religious leaders. This magazine also create list of most powerful people in the world, which is made every year. This list is made by comparison of the financial resources controlled by individuals, net worth, but also determining if they are powerful in multiple spheres. This means that not every billionaire has to appear on the list because money and tangible assets is not the only thing which creates a power. For example the 83 year-old IKEA owner Ingvar Kamprad who is the richest person in Europe did not get a spot on the list because he is not using his power. [1] On the other hand, Vladimir Putin who took the third place does not belong to the society of incredibly wealthy society, but he scored his points, because he has a big influence on other countries and also can show his power in the different ways.

Power in the Person

The high developed personal power is important factor which makes influencing of others much easier. To use full potential of this power, it is necessary that the others can see credibility of the person. Let’s look at Mr. Putin. The Prime Minister of Russian Federation possesses huge personal power in his competences, character and charisma [2] .

Competences – After his study of International Law at St. Petersburg University [3] Mr. Putin has decided to join Soviet security service also known as K.G.B. After few years of service at this agency, he was placed at high position. This career gave Mr. Putin knowledge, contacts, and people could see him as a person who has lots of experiences with law, politics and also army. He used these competences to help Russia grow in economic sphere.

Character – The character of Mr. Putin is more difficult to describe, because in some cases he act like he has good intentions, but sometimes he seems to be controlled by “devil sitting” on his shoulder who is telling him to gain more power. As an example could be used the invasion of Russian army to Georgia, which showed the world a leader who is not scared to use power and is able to takeover other country. If character of Mr. Putin is compared to the character of Mr. Obama, it is possible to see that Obama shows more feelings and tries to find a compromise, but on the other side is Vladimir Putin who wants to control everything and show everybody that Russia is not the Russia is not the country which will recede. This reveals two different kinds of power within the character. One which characterizes Obama by acting friendly and smiling all the time what makes him the most popular man in the world. Putin’s character power is to make other respecting him and scared.

Charisma – could be described as personal charm, attractiveness or essence of the personality, which can be seen by the other people. Charisma of Vladimir Putin is quite strong especially in Russia [4] , where people see him as a leader who made a big step forward, after the fall of Soviet Union. See figure below. Putin’s charisma worked especially for former president Boris Yeltsin, who found him attractive and also that could be the reason why he decided to give Mr. Putin presidential chair in 2000.

The personality power of Mr. Putin is very strong and this could be also the reason of his successful career. Thanks to the power of the personality, Mr. Putin is respected, confident and powerful man who is controlling one of the biggest nations in the world. Even though, there are more aspects which made him the third most powerful person.

Bases of Social Power

Vladimir Putin is in the position, where he uses the power for influencing the environment around him and also the relationships related to this surrounding. The power in the relationship could be viewed in terms of six types of power, which are called also bases of social power and were defined by social psychologists French and Raven [5] . Those powers are: referent, legitimate, expert, information and persuasion, reward and coercive power. Each of these powers offers the way of gaining compliance. [6] 

Referent Power

This individual power is based on the charisma and interpersonal skills of the power holder. The strength of the referent power also depends on the attractiveness and prestige of the individual. In Vladimir Putin’s case, he possesses a great referent power, because he is a leader of the strong nation. There are millions of people, who look at him as good leader who has patriotic feeling for the country. Many people and also many leaders would wish to be like current Prime Minister of Russia, because of his power, respect and all the knowledge he possess.

Legitimate Power

The most obvious but also the most important kind of power is legitimate power. It is the power of an individual because of the relative position and duties of the holder of the position within an organization. Legitimate power is formal authority delegated to the holder of the position. Mr. Putin possesses huge legitimate power, because he is the Prime Minister and former President of Russia. This makes him even more powerful because leaders of smaller nations or organizations do not have so many resources and power available as Vladimir Putin.

As an example could be used one conference in 2006 where all of the titans of Russia’s energy industry gathered around an map showing the route of a proposed new pipeline in Siberia. It would cost billions and had been years in the planning. After listening to their presentation, Vladimir Putin (President at that time) frowned, got up from his chair, whipped out a felt pen and redrew the map right in front of the embarrassed executives, who quickly agreed that he was right. [7] 

After year 2008 when he voluntary decided to not candidate for a president and support his friend Dimitry Medvedev, he became a Prime Minister. It seems that with this position is Mr. Putin totally satisfied and he is even more powerful than before. Indeed, Mr. Medvedev appears to be a doll which should take all the attention out from Mr. Putin.

Expert Power

Expert power is an individual’s power deriving from the skills or expertise of the person and the organization’s needs for that knowledge and expertise. Unlike the others, this type of power is usually highly specific and limited to the particular area in which the expert is trained and qualified. Vladimir Putin is educated man who has lots of experiences within different areas, but he also uses this power in different ways. Man in his position uses lots of advisors who are experts in particular areas and these people support his power by giving him their knowledge in specific sphere.

Information or Persuasion Power

Persuasion is a very powerful thing, which could be used to influence the opinions, beliefs, and actions of others. By using “I Have a Dream” and other speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used persuasive techniques to gain civil rights for African-Americans; his non-violent methods became a model for other civil rights movements. Hitler used persuasive techniques to gain the support of the German people in his campaign against the Jews; when the Holocaust was exposed, most Germans were horrified to realize that they had blindly followed a madman. Every leader who wants his nation to follow him is using the pursuing techniques. Even Vladimir Putin pursued the Russians to trust him and support him and that is one of the reasons why he is so popular. This Prime Minister uses his ability with the power of information during the negotiations. The source of information power of Mr. Putin is from the different Russian Intelligences, which has spies in every country. In November 2008, British Times newspaper wrote an article about the spy at the heart of NATO, who may have passed secret information to Russian intelligence. [8] This means that man like Putin, has almost unlimited source of the information power and it is just up to him how the information is going to be used.

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Reward Power

There are many forms of rewards. In fact, anything people can desire could be a reward, from a financial reward to an ice cream. Reward power is thus the ability to give other people what they want. [9] Vladimir Putin is a very powerful man who can reward one person, but also whole nation, because he “rules” one of the strongest nations with big amount of all kinds of resources.

Coercive Power

Coercive Power is exact opposite of the reward power, but usually those who have one of these, possess also the second one. The difference is that with this type of power, individuals usually lose the attractiveness and people starts to dislike these persons, because they are afraid of them. As already mentioned this power is usually together with reward power and Mr. Putin is not an exception. In the beginning of year 2009 all gas shipments to Ukraine were stopped, after the two countries did not agree on the price and transit fees for 2009. Russian Gazprom which is under Putin’s influence, brought an accusation against the Ukraine’s Naftogaz that still owes $600 million for 2008. [10] Mr. Putin was the person who decided to punish Ukraine so the gas supplies were stopped on his order. Unfortunately this punishment had also side effects, because other countries were also cut off from supplies.

Power in Message

There are different ways of using power of communication. A person who wants to possess the great power in message needs to work on the speaking, nonverbal communication and listening power. These powers are typically used during the speeches, discussions, negotiation etc. Mr. Putin’s occupation includes giving speeches and attending different conferences where he is using the power of message.

Speaking Power

It is an unwritten rule that good leader should be also good speaker, because the language and way of speaking is powerful thing. Mr. Putin is person who prefers to give a speech in his native language, even though he speaks 5 different languages [11] . Once Mr. Putin received question, how he managed learning of 4 foreign languages (German, French, Tatar and English). He responded modestly, explaining that he speaks fluently German because he lived in Germany.  He tries to practice English and improve so as to be able to communicate with colleagues, and as far as French and Tatar go, he just learned a few phrases to be able to address the speakers of those languages as a way of showing respect. [12] After watching several speeches and conferences Mr. Putin attended, the subjective observation about his General Verbal Strategy [13] was made. His answers to the questions are usually direct, but in some cases when journalists ask about e.g. war in Chechnya, his response is very arrogant and aggressive with a slice of humor to scare and manipulate the journalists. [14] On the other hand, Vladimir Putin speaks very clear, that almost everybody can understand what he is talking about. It is important to have good speaking abilities when someone wants to use this kind of power.

If Mr. Putin is compared to Mr. Obama it is possible to see the differences in their way of using this power. As earlier mentioned the President of U.S.A is opposite of Russian Prime Minister. Barack Obama is one of the best speakers in the world, because he acts naturally, speaks clearly and possesses great speaking power. When Mr. Obama is asked about topics which he does not want to talk about, he uses manipulation and different speech skills to avoid the question. In Putin’s case it is little bit different, because as mentioned before he starts defending by arrogant answers and sometimes it is possible to see that he is getting angry. Anyway, there are not any doubts these two leaders are good orators who were trained to perform in the best possible way.

Non-verbal Power

If any person has the ability to use the non-verbal communication effectively, it can help to bring some benefits like attractiveness and popularity. People are using this communication all the time when they are in the company of other people, even if they are not aware of it. When talking about the non-verbal communication, there are different channels which should be mentioned. These channels are: body communication, facial communication, eye communication, touch communication, paralanguage and silence, spatial messages, artifactual communication and temporal communication. Every person probably uses all of these channels every day and Vladimir Putin is not an exception. But this report will be focused merely on some of them.

Body communication – Mr. Putin and also other politicians are using the body language to attract people, but each of them in different way. After seeing many videos and analyzing Vladimir Putin’s typical movements, the statement about his body language was made. On every briefing he attended, he was sitting straight with both hands on the table and little bit leaning forward almost without any movement. He used gesticulation only in few cases, when appointing on some person. It is difficult to get some outputs from his body language because it seems to be, he does not want to show any message at all. On the other hand it could be the message that he is strict man who served in army and stands all the time at attention to show the discipline.

Eye and facial communication – The most communicative part of Putin’s body is the face and the eyes. When Mr. Putin is giving interview it is easy to see that he does not feel comfortable when reporter asks the questions for instance about the invasion to Georgia. In that case he does not look at the interviewer so much and his eyes are moving very fast and frequently. [15] There could be plenty of reasons why Mr. Putin is avoiding the eye contact and one of them could be stress or just finding the right words. On the other hand when he talks about more “friendly” issues, Mr. Putin looks calm and his eyes are mostly aimed on the person in front of him. In this case it is even possible to see smile on his face.

Listening Power

For some people it is very difficult to concentrate and pay attention to someone who talks for few hours. This is because of weak listening power. Powerful listener is able to concentrate on the speaker even when he is located in the disturbing area full of noise and people. The advantages of person with developed listening power are that he can receive more information than the others and also there is smaller chance of misunderstanding.

Is Vladimir Putin good listener? The answer on this question is very difficult to find. Mr. Putin and all the politicians should be good at speaking but also listening. It is extremely important to pay attention to what colleagues of Mr. Putin say, because he needs to be able to react. As already mentioned, it is difficult to say if Vladimir Putin is a good listener and the reason is because nobody knows what is going on in his head when he “pretends” listening.

The only way how to judge his listening skills is by evaluating the body language. At some videos which are on the internet, it is possible to see that he acts different in some situations.

Replacing things – in some cases Mr. Putin is “playing” with the things on his table while listening to the opponent or the reporter. This body language could be a message that he is not that interested into the other person and he does not need to pay attention on the message which is sent out by orator. Anyway it does not mean Mr. Putin is not listening. He could be just trying to distract and confuse the others.

Staring at the person – When Prime Minister of Russia listen to the opponent and he stares at him it could mean that he is trying to listen to the voice message but also to the non-verbal message. This could be during the negotiation or meeting with person like Barack Obama. [16] 

Communication is a powerful tool, but it is up to the individual, if it is going to be used in the best possible way. Mr. Putin is a professional and a well trained speaker who send out only messages, which he wants to reveal. Every person has specific speaking skills, body language and listening style, therefore it is difficult to read person like Mr. Putin who used to be K.G.B. agent.


As already mentioned in the report, Vladimir Putin is very powerful person. Analyzes showed that he possibly possess most of the powers which can people have. Mr. Putin could be one of those who were born with the leadership in blood, and ability to use the knowledge in the right way.

Each theory about the power mentioned in the report was used to analyze Mr. Putin as a power holder. Some of these analyses are subjective because I have not discussed my findings with other persons. It is almost impossible, even for psychologist to evaluate the thinking of powerful person like Mr. Putin. Therefore I have used assumptions to make analyzes of some types of power.


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