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Monday, 5 March 2012

The Big Five Personalities : Vladimir Putin / Najib Razak

The big five personalities of a political figure shows plays a big role in the leadership of his administration, whether the system is a totalitarian power of a supreme sovereign of the autocracy or the more chaotic state of democracy of an elected representatives of the people. The policies and actions constructed by leaders are due to his traits which subsequently reflects the strength of his big five personality.
 In order to fully understand the personality of a politician and to discover their big five dimension that contribute their personality traits, one has to take into account a number of factors that influences the subject’s attitude and actions.  Those factors are the early background of the subject, exposure of literature and idols, personal history and state of the country as the subject comes into terms of power and the policies that subjects has constructed due to his traits and subsequently reflects his factors of the big five personality.

Vladimir Putin 
In the case of Vladimir Putin, he was a young boy from the banks of Leningrad, now named Saint Petersburg, who lived in the era of the cold war and the Soviet Union. As a young boy he spends hours in the cinema, watching movies of Stalin’s classic of heroics deeds of a secret agent single handled change the course of history which fuelled his passion for secret service which then subsequently influence him to apply for the KGB at the 16 but only accept into the agency at the age of 23 upon graduating from  International Law branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University in 1975. His passion and training as a KGB had constructed one of his greatest strength and personality trait which is Conscientiousness and it would be the foundation of his leadership.

 Vladimir Putin spends 15years as a KGB agent and was assigned to Dresden, East Germany where he collected many names and contacts which became very useful for his future political career but as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in the winters of 1989 he felt betrayed and returned to Russia where he was utterly surprised with the reformation of the Soviet Union to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic by the first president, Boris Yeltsin. From May 1990, he started his political career as a Mayor’s advisor on international affairs but with his contacts from his previous profession he manages to climb up the ladder with ease.

The state of Russia before the regime of Vladimir Putin was incomparably different. Boris Yeltsin and the Oligarchs (well-connected entrepreneurs who started from nearly nothing and got rich through participation in the market via connections to the corrupt, but democratically elected. Mostly includes relatives or close associates of government officials) tried to bring in democracy to Russia but their greed has clouded their judgments and fails to stay true to their promises has led to the crash of the Russian economies and the lost on the battle against the Chechnya. These events disappointed Vladimir even further and have led him to give no hope for democracy and tend to look back onto his political idol Yuri Andropov which influences his vision on the country. His vision was to restore the pride and glory of the Soviet Union and have the respects of the world. This is the fuel of the engine of his concentration and determination to see his goal succeed.

In the March of 2000, behind the snow cover walls of the Kremlins walks the obscured ex-KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, up the stairs to the thrones of the Tsars as the newly elected President of Russia. It is one of the most surprising power manoeuvres in Russian political chronicle but in my very own opinion has to be one of the greatest transactions in the country’s history.  

From this early on we could already see one of the biggest traits that Vladimir Putin clearly posses which is the self-discipline and strive to achieve his aim against all odds. His extraordinary level of conscientiousness enables him to successfully reach the peak of control over his country allowing him to execute his childhood vision of the glory of Soviet Union. 

Vladimir Putin had a great focus and motivation to remain truthful on his mission to return Russia its pride instead of getting corrupted by the greed and power of politics. Even in the early stages of his political career he had stay in the shadows and played along with his superior in order to gain advantages while yet staying true to the ideology of the Old Russian Empire. This can clearly be seen in April 1999, when he was the Head of FSB (a successor agency to the KGB), claimed the identity of a man in a sex video that had been aired was the Prosecutor General of Russia, Yury Skuratov, who was an adversary to the President Boris Yeltsin, just to gain the trust of the president and his Oligarchs. With the help of the Oligarchs and the President himself, Vladimir manages to win the election and gain the power of presidency but at once he had control he charges and fired the Oligarchs for various illegal activities, particularly tax evasion. Most of the Oligarchs had been replaced by former KGB members who had the same ideology as Putin. 

The intricate and excellent planning of Vladimir Putin which directs from his amazing control of his impulses can also be seen with the removal and replacement of Oligarchs. With that he manages to win the favour and supports of his people for they had always been used and undermined by the old Oligarchs. With the new members of the Oligarchs, Vladimir pursues his vision of the Great Russia by first and foremost reinstalling the national anthem of the Soviet Union with a modification to the lyrics to bring back the feeling of pride to its people and reforming the laws accordingly to fit the society which is stuck with Communisms and failed with Democracy. 

Here we could see the trait of openness to new ideas in Vladimir Putin’s characteristics, though it’s minimal but he was able to accept the democracy values which maybe different from his ideal Russian Communism in order to find a balance of both worlds. Vladimir Putin maybe a true Soviet Union’s son and a Communist inside but the fact that he manages to mix Democracy and Communism into his administration had to be praise. Don’t forget that most Russians were comfortable with Communism but just greedy for more but when they had Democracy the leaders had the benefits instead of the citizen. So in Vladimir’s system which mixes the two together equally had been the best moved for Russia. He cleverly reformed codification of land law and tax law along with new codes on labour, administrative, criminal, commercial and civil procedural law, as well as a major statute on the Bar. His new laws and ways of ruling could easily be considered as a Sovereign Democracy which suited the people nicely. 

Putin focuses his attention on the natural resources of Russia’s oil and gas which had always been his concerned ever since his KGB days helps to boost up the country devastating economics situation. With the amount of energy Russia has and the world lack of energy crisis allows Vladimir Putin to gain advantages on both having control in shaping the world and benefiting his country’s economy. This could easily be seen through the records of the average monthly salary of Russians which has increased sevenfold from $80 to $640 since his administration.

We can also see his traits of conscientiousness that manages to shadows his neuroticism when handling the matters of the confrontation between Russia and Chechnya, after his predecessor Boris Yeltsin failed to deal with the war which in Vladimir’s point of view was a great defeat but yet he didn’t handle it with anger or hatred towards Chechnya. Although he did show his disgust with them after the Chechen rebel forces conducted terrorist attack by seizing a theatre in Moscow in October 2002. Though his neuroticism may had overpower his judgement here when he firmly attack back immediately and he refuses to negotiate and gassing the entire building, killing one hundred thirty of the nine Russian hostages as well as all of the terrorists.
Though this may sounds as a bad thing and very big flaw on his reputation of a planned and orderly leadership for the action shows a more spontaneous behaviour of neuroticism but it shows his persistence and effectiveness to remove any threats to Russia. In lack of a better description his conscientiousness was able to control his neuroticism in such a way that could easily be resemble as a chess player making a totally unexpected moves that only contribute towards his bigger aim. To further more shows his organized and planned neuroticism, he didn’t stop from just removing the threats in Russia but actually when to Chechnya to severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement and successful in installing a pro-Moscow Chechen regime, this is something that the President George W. Bush of the United States of America tried to do but failed miserably. This shows the character of Vladimir Putin and his methods of ruling which is a pleasant mixture of the two juxtaposed big five personalities.

Analyzing a politic through his administration could give us a glimpse of the personality of the leader but in the case of Vladimir Putin is quite hard to deeply understand this mysterious figure that always seems to be on the both end of the stick. He shows openness to new ideas but yet stick firmly to the roots of his upbringing. He often shows a quick neurotic decision in his system but yet it seems to fit perfectly into his bigger plans and vision of the country. It would be hard and bias for anyone to label his biggest personality traits into just two categories for he manages to balance out the negative and the positive in an equal disposition. The only trait that an observer could really praise and associate with Vladimir Putin is the amazing planning and self discipline characteristic of Conscientiousness which is even more greatly used in his more controversy role in the political circle of Russian Administration.

It was well known that Soviet Union runs in the political system of Communism and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic execute the Democratic systems but if one would actually take a closer evaluation of its transition and compare it with the histories of political manoeuvres, it is perhaps not at all impossible to declare the idea that the current political system of Russian is an autocracy and Vladimir Putin is its main leader. Though this system of autocracy is very subtle and has feeble examples that could support this theory but it could not be dismiss or disregarded as well. 

Vladimir Putin executed a very well plan to gain the position of President by fooling to old Oligarchs and Boris Yeltsin, the first president. During this time, Boris Yeltsin was having a tough time persuading the media and the country of his ability to fix the country’s problem and he step down from the seat letting Vladimir Putin to overtake in hope that Putin was able to bring a new change and stay true to him but as soon as Vladimir was in the possession of power, he replace the Oligarchs and many of the political personals with those who has the same vision as him ensuring his goal to succeed. Vladimir Putin regime though seems to be a fair and democratic ruling; he has many of his strings attached to throughout the cabinets.

Another case that shows the neurotic behaviour of Vladimir Putin as he tries to cover up his autocratic ruling in Russian Politic can be found in the case of former Oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev, both who funded the opposition parties. Khodorkovsky argued with Putin in February 2003 in a televised meeting at the Kremlin, where he challenged Putin on questions concerning the government corruption and implying that the top state officials were pocketing millions in bribes. In October that year, Khodorkovsky was arrested charged with fraud and tax evasion. On 31 March 2009, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were again charged with embezzlement and money laundering. The two men face up 22 more years in prison. Khodorkovsky claimed he did not understand the charges. Though we cannot prove that Vladimir Putin were the one executing this charges on them but the coincidence was too great to ignore and shows the precise planning of the neurotic impulses of a leader who wishes to keep his power behind shadow.

In the 2008 presidential election of Russia, the candidates that were to compete against Vladimir Putin were, Dmitry Medvedev, LDPR’s Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the Communist’s Gennady Zyuganov. Though many Russians still find Vladimir Putin as a most favourite and popular choice, but most Russians were afraid that he might be too comfortable with his position. By looking at these candidates alone, Vladimir Putin didn’t at all fear his aim and planning of restoring Russia’s previous glory was in any way jeopardize. Dmitry Medvedev is a close acquaintance of Vladimir Putin and had served alongside his administration since the time of 1990 in Leningrad City Council as Anatoly Sobchak’s advisors.  Vladimir Zhirinovsky was though from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and had his own agenda; he was too in close contact with Vladimir Putin and had aligned vision of Russia. His background as a KGB agent was all to similar in Putin’s case, though Zhirinovsky was a lot more neurotic than Putin and had been involve in many controversy cases  which made him a least favourite candidate. The last choice that was given to Russians was the Communist’s Gennady Zyuganov who again had a though moderate encounters with Vladimir Putin, he was in the same focus and aim for restoring the Soviet pride in Russia. Those were the choices given to Russia as the next president and all of those candidates were in the same vision as Vladimir Putin and all had a respectable view of him. It seems to me that election was lack of variety for all were just puppets for Putin’s vision.

Dmitry Medvedev was inaugurated as the 3rd President of Russia in 2008, John P. Willerton describe, "represented an unprecedented moment in the over thousand-year history of the Russian state, as a politically strong and healthy 55-year old president willingly turned powers to a similarly vigorous leader." Vladimir Putin successor as president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, a Pink Floyd fan and a close associate of Putin, unsurprisingly choose Putin as his Prime Minister. It was not at all hard to see that Vladimir Putin had many influences of decision making during Dmitry Medvedev regime, in fact by all account one could state that Putin held the real power.

The Russian Presidential Election of 2008 could easily shows the amount of planning that Vladimir Putin had done to ensure his success of his vision continues. The conscientiousness of this man is admirable and though its trickery and corruption is involved to enable such transition but one could not disregard his passion and self driven motives. Nevertheless, it is impossible to prove that the political system of Russia is autocratic but according to the poll conducted by the Levada Centre in which 1600 Russians from across the land took part in, only 13% believed that Medvedev held the most power while 32% stated that Putin was the responsible leader behind the shadow and 48% answered that both Putin and Medvedev are juggling their powers between one another. 7% failed to answer the question. Even more surprisingly the Kremlin-Watchers noted that Medvedev uses the more formal form of ‘you’ (vy) when addressing Putin, while Putin addresses Medvedev with the more informal ‘ty’. This may not be enough to label Russia as an autocratic country but many Russians are neither opposing nor accepting the idea.

In 2012, the next presidential election of Russia shall take place and the political analysts has stated that even though both Putin and Medvedev are in the running for the presidential seats with a different sides of the coins status, many believe that the split is exaggerated “trying to maximise support for the authorities by appealing to different parts of society” as noted by the BBC. Medvedev announced that he would be ready to do the practical work of a prime minister and recommended that Vladimir Putin to be nominated as presidential candidate for the two men had cut a deal a long time ago to restore Putin as the president.
December 2011, as the tension of Russian Presidential election continues, the managed democracy of the country was tested when the trumpeting results of the parliamentary election turnout was exceeding 140 percent which clearly vindicated the authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin. In order to ensure his success, the rigged voting system was executed reporting countless young people transported from numerous voting stations to another in order to multiple the results. This result echoed the fixed elections of the Soviet-era. Vladimir Putin’s precise planning of his conscientiousness behaviour was back fired in this situation when his neurotic side was in fear of losing power to the opposition party, which subsequently shed a light onto his autocratic regime of Kremlin.

This exposure of his mischievous has upset the younger technological savvy generation who had been influence by the western Medias and generating an unrest demonstration showcasing their protest against governmental corruption and challenging the autocratic regime of Vladimir Putin. His response to the demonstration was, "This is a developed scheme to destabilize society that did not rise up on its own."  Clearly showing his impulsive nature of neuroticism as he blames the uprising on the western world and accusing them to masterminding the protestors. He then went on stating that the US drone was responsible for the attack and death of former Libyan Dictator, Gaddafi. This remarks made by Vladimir Putin is due to the stressful amount of focus upon his long and hard work of intricate planning causing him to react in the neurotic behaviours. 

Yet again, it would be bias of me to focus on his neurotic personalities for though his statements are impulsive in nature it is also true that media of the western world has exaggerated the uprising in Russia for the amount of people protesting against him is barely 1% of the city of Moscow. It is not at all as gruesome and violent as depicted in the Medias of western world. It is easy to understand why many would criticize the way Vladimir Putin’s rule his country and focuses on his neuroticism instead of his conscientiousness, but mostly those who criticize him tends to live outside Russia and been corrupted by the media of the West where Communism is bad or anyone that is influence by anyway by the Soviet Union Era is bad so with that in mind they would immediately focus on the negative personalities of Vladimir Putin. This is mostly due to the outcomes from the point of view of Russia from the media since the Cold War Era. 

Vladimir Putin is a man who has amazing self-discipline and focus to strive for success but like all mortal man he does also consist of neurotic impulses which may be amplified in the status of power. Overall, he is a man who found equilibrium on both of these opposing behaviours and manages to uses the negative actions to his benefit of his main goal in life. The Medias of our world may paint a picture of a devil with his name but to those people of Russia he was the man who save them from the greedy world of democracy but didn’t let them fall back into the ignorance of communism. He did what is necessary to achieve his goal of a glorious Russia even if it cost him the status of Russian Political Mafia’s Godfather. In my view of political history, his autocratic ruling was fair and less corrupted by greed of wealth or power. 

All his young days dreaming of the Stalin’s classic films where the hero single handed change the course of history are finally true. He had become that hero and left a great shift in the Russian’s lifestyle and with the Sovereign Democracy. Whatever the results of this year presidential election and the fate of Vladimir Putin, we can only praise and compliment Vladimir for one main and last reason, to stay true to himself and chase his dream of saving Russia. Though you may not agree with his idea, we can only focus on his conscientiousness behaviour, slight openness to new ideas and careless on his neuroticism. Vladimir Putin, the true son of Russia.

Najib Razak

    Closer to home we take a look on our own current Prime Minister and evaluate his personalities. On 23rd July 1953, the first son of Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak and the nephew of Malaysia’s third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, was born in the district of Kuala Lipis in the state of Pahang. His name was Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Razak; he would eventually be appointed as Malaysia 6th Prime Minister, what almost seemed to be his destiny on 3 April 2009. After receiving his primary and secondary education at St John Institution in Kuala Lumpur, he continued his education at the Malvern Boy’s College, Worcestershire, England and subsequently enrolled at University of Nottingham, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial economics in 1974. At the age of 23, Najib took the plunge into politics where he was elected unopposed as a Member of Parliament with the sudden demise his father in 1976. It was to mark the beginning of his long association in politics and government service. 

In 2009, he was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Malaysia as Dato Seri Abdullah steps down and decides not to seek re-election as the President of the UMNO political party. 

   Prime Minister Najib Razak also shows his openness characteristic when he abolish the Internal Security Act, ISA, for he wishes for the citizen of his country to have the rights to free speech and to execute the very foundation of liberty in democracy.  However his agreeableness towards those politicians around his has allowed his administration stray from that vision, which can clearly be from the beginning of 2011 with the case of journalist Hata Wahari who criticize and publish his view on the corruptions of the government which in tow has led the tighter media regulations and limitation on the internet. The very actions wish contradicts the idea of free speech. 

   From there, the citizen of Malaysia wishes to see a transparency and reformation of the election system which has been kept quite from the eyes of our country by the government. In order to show our dissatisfaction with the censorship, we gather in a peaceful rally which brought fear towards the government as they set patrol of law enforcement that began their violent rage against us in July 2011. In the following month of November, a decree of new law imposing tougher restrictions and penalties for street protesting and demonstrators were made as a reaction towards the July rally. This action by Najib shows a very neurotic perspective of his personality which is so often caused by his quick agreeableness nature towards those who wishes to protect their power and often jeopardizes his main idea of openness and equality that he promised with the campaign of 1Malaysia.

   Another example of his openness that is often controlled by his agreeableness in nature comes from the his promise of making the government smaller and more efficient when he reform two ministries and added a Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water to show his compassion towards environment and his contribution in the support of reducing the climate changes and global warming. This creation of the ministry in my opinion is a great step forward in our political administration but my faith in the success of the ministration diminished as with the news of their plans to build 12 more Hydroelectric power dams on 15 February 2011. Their excuse for its construction is because it was crucial for generating more power that is lacking in our country. It comes to my attention what exactly does the minister of Green Technology has been doing or what do they actually been reading to think that building 12 new dams is a good idea or benefits the environment in anyway? The construction of these 12 new dams would destroy countless acres of rainforests and their inhabitant which is definitely isn’t an environmental friendly technology. My opinion here is that our prime minister should not just blindly agree to any power hungry or greedy merchants if he wishes to stick to his vision of a greener Malaysia. And dont get me started with Lynas Deal. That is just pure stupidity in our prime ministers decision.

   In the case of our Prime Minister, Najib Razak, he has a strong value of openness which is clear by his efforts to equalize the ethnics of Malaysia and accept the freedom of speech by forming the 1Malaysia campaign and banning the Internal Security Act. However, his lack of self-discipline and conscientiousness allows others to take advantage of his cooperative nature of agreeableness and deteriorate his goals by approving such laws and acts that contradict his own.   

  From evaluation of both political leaders, it is clear to state that the leaders big five personalities plays an important role in the success or failure of their administration. Najib Razak’s value of Openness and Agreeableness is important to allow the ideas of others in order to be fair in a leadership but to a certain limit or else failure of executing your main priority would be imminent. Hence, the most important quality of a leadership is a strong firm grasp of self-discipline or Conscientiousness such as Vladimir Putin had shown in his success of his political administration that nearly achieved his childhood ambition if it wasn’t for the uncanny impulsive behaviour of his neurotic side. Therefore, a leader should also have to learn to control the neurotic side of our personalities and uses it for our benefit of our main goal as said by Wilson (1917) “Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise.”

PS: Vladimir Putin is restored as Russian President on March 4, 2012. (congratz godfather, i will kiss your ring any day)
Najib Razak will lose his by the end of the year....We Malaysian will make sure of it....

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