A Portrait of a President: Self - presentation of Biden versus Putin in Times of Crisis

Document Type : Original Article


English Department, Faculty of Education, Alexandria University


In times of crisis, persuasion has typically been considered the primary function of political speeches, whereby the speaker tries to publicize their political principles, policies and strategies/values in order to achieve something predetermined and directional with audience. By employing a different medium of expression (speeches) and targeting specific intentions, politicians share with artists the fact that they create a kind of make-belief world, an imaginary one for their people. In this world, they change their masks to craft their public image and manipulate their audience accordingly. Ideology plays a significant role in that performance. The current paper examines eight speeches delivered by Biden and Putin during the Russian-Ukrainian conflict to identify the strategies used and relate them to different ideologies, in order to contribute to the literature on the role of ideology in selecting impression management strategies. Building on Goffman’s theory (1959), impression management strategies, and Social Identity Theory (1979), it demonstrates that both Biden and Putin adopt multiple personas when delivering their speeches during critical periods. These personas are hugely influenced by their ideologies and are shaped by the different political systems they belong to and the diverse audiences they target.