After studying the material in this chapter, the student must:


• system characteristics of legitimacy and legality of power, convergence points and differences between them;

• the main forms, methods, means and conditions for ensuring the legitimacy of power;

• the causes of the crisis of the legitimacy of power;

• The essence of the crisis of legitimacy, its possible results;

be able to

• Identify those constituents of legitimacy and legality that ensure the viability and effectiveness of the relevant system of power;


• the skills to identify and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the phenomena of legitimacy and legality in terms of preventing a crisis of legitimacy of power.

Any state can not but feel the need for a system of legitimation, the essence of which is to justify and justify the right to rule the existing form of government in a given country. This problem is closely related to another cardinal issue of the sources and limits of power. The stability and viability of any socio-political system or form of government depends on the readiness of its subjects, or components, to live in accordance with certain laws and legal norms, which in turn depends on the recognition of the legitimacy (legitimacy) of this system.

By the legitimacy of power means the recognition by at least the majority of members of society of the legitimacy of the current political regime. Such recognition can not be provided only by violent means. Most people obey the authorities, usually voluntarily, and not under duress. We must not forget that the political has as its basis and purpose the universal interconnection of social groups, institutions, private and public spheres of people's activities.

Constitutions, codes, laws, administrative decisions are means of exercising power. At the same time, the authority is subject to the law, designed to clearly define the power prerogatives and functions of the state.

System Characteristics of Power Legitimacy

For a correct understanding of the nature and essential characteristics of power, the concept of legitimacy, on which the viability, stability and effectiveness of any political system depends to a large extent, is of key importance. Legitimacy of power (from Latin legitimus - legitimate) - recognition by the society or the majority of the people of the established system of power as natural, normal, appropriate to its will and interests.

The state, no matter how strong it may seem at first glance, sooner or later is doomed to instability and decay if all, or at least most of its citizens, recognize the legitimacy of the existing government and do not show willingness to obey its laws. Many even the most powerful states disappeared from the political map of the world due to the fact that they could not cope with the problems of weakening or eroding the legitimacy of their power.

The issue of the legitimacy of power acquires special significance and urgency in the transitional periods, which for many peoples became the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, characterized by large-scale shifts of a global scale, which resulted in the emergence of many new national states on the world political arena.

In political and legal science, the concepts of "legitimacy of power" and legality of authority & quot ;. Any authority, regardless of whether it is accepted by the majority of citizens or not, is considered legal if it is based on laws in force in a given country and legal principles. For example, the power of a monarch is legal if, upon its passage to it respected the norms and rules of inheritance established in the monarchical form of government.

In modern states with republican regimes, the power of the president, prime minister, parliament is legal, since they are elected in accordance with the law, the constitution and other legal documents.

However, while acknowledging the validity of this thesis, it must also be taken into account that law, law, and power do not exist by themselves, outside a particular system of social relations. The state, power and law are always interdependent and their interrelation depends on the level of socioeconomic, socio-cultural, politico-cultural, spiritual and moral development of society. As Hegel noted, "legislation in general and its specific definitions should not be viewed in isolation and abstract, but as a dependent element of one totality in connection with all other definitions that make up the character of a nation and an epoch; in this connection they acquire their true meaning, and thereby their justification. "

Any authority that publishes laws, even unpopular, to ensure their implementation, - is legal. At the same time, it can be illegitimate, that is, not accepted by the people, if laws are imposed on the people by force and are used as an instrument for the realization and protection of interests, of one class, layer, clan, grouping, using different forms of violence. In this context, the concept of the legitimacy of power becomes particularly important. Unlike legality, which means that the activities of political parties, organizations, institutions, state authorities are in line with the laws in force, legitimacy presupposes the actual recognition by the population of the country, the international community of the political order that has really taken shape in the country as being in keeping with the interests of the people of that country. The very concept of legitimacy is not strictly legal and is not fixed in any legal document or the basic laws of the states. This is in many ways a socio-cultural, politico-cultural, moral and ethical phenomenon.

Legitimacy is the confidence of subjects that the ruling or political elite have the right to power, that the order established in the state reflects the highest interests of society, ensures the welfare and security of the country and people. The degree of positive attitude of citizens to the existing government, its decisions and actions, values, social orientations, high degree of its creditworthiness are indicators of its legitimacy. Here it is important to take into account that in every society law, law, and authority are based on a national-historical, moral-moral, sociocultural, religious foundation characteristic for it.

Therefore, legitimacy implies the conformity of this power to the values ​​of the majority of citizens. The approval and support by the population of the relevant power system are associated with different political and civic traditions, mechanisms for the dissemination of ideologies, the processes of shaping the authority shared by the "tops" and bottoms values ​​defined by the organization of the state and society. However, in today's world, it is legitimacy, based on the support of broad sections of the population, that ensures stability and stability of power.

Recognition of legitimacy means recognition of the legitimate right of the authorities to make decisions that are binding on all citizens of that state, without exception. Moreover, persons with authority can not rely only on physical coercion or violence authorized by law, but they must also justify this right before their subjects, to achieve acceptance by the people of their power at least passive obedience. As historical experience shows, in a society in which people respect the law and the power system, minimal conditions for physical coercion are required. In the same place where the legitimacy of power is not indisputable, lawlessness reigns and there is a danger of social upheavals.

We can say that the legitimization of political power is a two-way interdependent process, on the one hand, "self-justification" and the rational justification of their power by the powers that be, and on the other - the recognition of this power as subject. In other words, legitimacy presupposes agreement, mutual trust in the relations between the ruling and subject, the society, the people and political power, the recognition by the people, in any case, by the majority of citizens, of its role as a legitimate and necessary tool for governing society.

It is important to take into account that the legitimacy so understood does not mean that the existing power is unconditionally accepted by all citizens. In the world, it is hardly possible to find a state, whether it is democratic or even more authoritarian, where all citizens, without exception, would perceive the existing regime as absolutely legitimate. The legitimacy of the authorities does not exclude criticism of the leadership of the state, manifestations of discontent among the population, even against certain areas of state policy. However, in a democratic state, all emerging contradictions and conflicts must be resolved on the basis of existing laws and observance of the generally accepted rules of the political game in society.

At the same time, there are always social groups that disagree with the current government, opponents of the regime, people who violate laws or are neutral or even hostile to the authorities, protest subcultures, apolitical layers that refuse to take part in the political life of the country. As a rule, the level of recognition of the legitimacy of power in society can range from general approval to complete denial. Otherwise, it would be impossible to explain the existence in any democratic state of the official opposition of the authorities. Therefore, any authority must constantly confirm its capacity, effectiveness and ability to solve vital problems for society. Here, as they say, the ruler must constantly undergo an unofficial referendum on his suitability for power.

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