Weber and Legitimacy

Recently, the president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, has been extremely ill. Because of this, other government officials must take a greater role and have greater responsibility than they already have. One such government officials that has a had greatly expanded role is Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov. Paul Quinn-Judge of Time Magazine wrote an article entitled “Russia’s New Icon” describing the Russian situation. In this article he articulates that “Former Spymaster Yevgeni Primakov reluctantly became Prime Minister [of Russia] two months ago. Now he is virtually running the country”. Throughout the course of politics and government the issue of legitimacy of the power of rulers has arisen. The rise to power of Yevgeni Primakov brings about many questions about whether or not he possess the legitimacy to become an effective and exemplary leader. Max Weber(1864-1920), a German sociologist, believes in government, to be a legitimate ruler, one must have three characteristic. These characteristics are law, tradition, and charisma. “One can say that three pre-eminent qualities are decisive for the politician: passion, a feeling of responsibility, and a sense of proportion.” If one possess the trait of law, it means that the person is acting under the strict guidelines of the law and is not deviating from what a person must do to become the leader legally and justly. The characteristic of tradition, is if the way the person came to rule was because “it was always this way”. As an example, if a king has only one son then the next king will be the king’s son. Charisma is a rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm. Many people in Russia question the legitimacy of Primakov’s power. These people ask does he have the right to rule or does he have legitimate power? They also wonder does he have the law, tradition, and charisma to establish this legitimacy. Essentially, Primakov must …

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