Date of Award

Spring 6-15-2024

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

B.A. in International Studies; B.A. in Russian Language

Organizational Unit

Languages and Literatures, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, International Studies, Sié Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy, The Europe Center, College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Tamra Pearson d'Estrée


Leadership trait analysis (LTA), Vladimir Putin, Content analysis, Russian language translation, 2012-2023, War in Ukraine


While an abundance of literature has studied the actions and behaviors of Vladimir Putin, the most extensive area involves leadership analysis (Semenova and Winter 2020). Various methods within political psychology have used analyses to study Putin throughout his time in office. However, no published research has studied Putin using leadership trait analysis, nor have any published works studied his changes in leadership leading up to the invasion of Ukraine. Using a mixed methods longitudinal study design on Vladimir Putin from 2012 to 2023, five periods in his third term were identified, with speeches taken and coded using the seven LTA traits, resulting in a quantitative analysis. This analysis was then contextualized using psychobiographical methods to understand Putin’s leadership style and its evolution over time.

The findings of this study challenge much of the existing literature. Contrary to the widely proposed notion that Putin’s traits changed most between 2012 and 2014, particularly in the distrust and need for power indicators (Semenova and Winter 2020; Dyson and Parent 2018; Hill and Gaddy 2015), this analysis revealed a different narrative. The most significant shift in Putin’s leadership traits occurred in 2014 when six of the seven studied traits moved at least one standard deviation from the average. This period saw decreases in task focus, belief in the ability to control events, self-confidence, and need for power but increases in the indicators of in-group bias and conceptual complexity. These findings not only challenge the existing literature but also provide a fresh perspective on how Putin has adapted his pursuit of power, shifting his task focus from problem-solving to relationships to maintain political power (Semenova and Winter 2020). This analysis aims to broaden the field of literature to encompass more comprehensive assessments of Putin’s leadership traits over recent years while also deepening the understanding of the benefits and downsides of longitudinally studying a leader using LTA indicators.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Payton J. Casteel


Received from author

File Format



English (eng)


66 pgs

File Size

1.1 MB