Personality cults

Other Names:
Personality cults in politics
Media personality cults
Media overexposure of celebrities

A cult of personality, or a cult of the leader, is the result of an effort which is made to create an idealized and heroic image of a leader by a government, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Historically, it has developed through techniques of mass media, propaganda, the big lie, fake news, spectacle, the arts, patriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies. A cult of personality is similar to apotheosis, except that it is established by modern social engineering techniques, usually by the state or the party in one-party states and dominant-party states. A cult of personality often accompanies the leader of a totalitarian or authoritarian countries. It can also be seen in some monarchies, theocracies, and failed democracies.

The term was coined in 1957, by Nikita Khrushchev in his speech "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences". This speech was famously given on the final day of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the speech, Khrushchev, speaking as the First Secretary of the Communist Party – in effect, the leader of the country – criticized the lionization, and idealization, as well as the policies of Joseph Stalin, his predecessor. By criticizing Stalin in this manner it can be implied Khrushchev was also giving condemnation to his communist contemporary Mao Zedong, as contradicting Marxist doctrine. The speech was later made public and was part of the "de-Stalinization" process in the Soviet Union.

Broader Problems:
Promoting celebrities
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST