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Disaster, Communication and Legitimization of Power in Russia: The Case of the Forest Fires in Summer 2010*

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Focusing on Vladimir Putin’s communication during the summer fires of 2010, this article questions the process of political legitimization in times of natural disasters. The reinsurance of stability and legitimacy is one of the key challenges for political power, and its leaders, after a natural or technical disaster. After the fires of 2010, this process of legitimacy restoration has resulted in an overexposure of the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the media. This article argues that the process of power legitimization in the Russian state consists in a communication, which is based on the idea of a leader’s protection of, or proximity to, the population; on the idea of power euergetism, or donations, and on the definition of a reestablished normality.

Affiliations: 1: Sciences-Po, France


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