Puppet ruler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A puppet ruler is a person who has a title indicating possession of political power, but who, in reality, is either loyal to or controlled by outside individuals or forces. Such outside power can be exercised by a foreign government, in which case the puppet ruler's domain is called a puppet state. But the puppet ruler may also be controlled by internal forces, such as non-elected officials. A figurehead monarch, as source of legitimacy and possibly divine reign, has been the used form of government in several situations and places of history.

There are two basic forms of using puppets as monarchs (rulers, kings, emperors): a figurehead in which the monarch is a puppet of another person or a group in the country who rules instead of the nominal ruler; and a puppet government under a foreign power. Examples of the first type are the Emperors who were the puppets of the shōguns of Japan and the kings who were the puppets of the Mayor of Palace in the Frankish kingdom. Client kingdoms under the Roman Republic and Roman Empire and the British Empire's colonial relationship with King Farouk of Egypt in the 1950s are examples of the second type.

List of puppet kings and queens[edit]

Classical antiquity[edit]

Late antiquity[edit]

Post-classical period[edit]

Early modern period[edit]

Napoleonic era[edit]

Late modern period[edit]

Puppet governments[edit]

A puppet does not have to be a national ruler, or even a person. For example, Oscar K. Allen was widely recognized to be Huey Long's puppet while serving as governor of Louisiana.[3] The government of Manchukuo was controlled by the Japanese government.

Some critics and members of the media claimed that former President George W. Bush was a puppet of his vice president, Dick Cheney. Shortly after Bush was elected in 2000, for example, Saturday Night Live ran a skit where Bush, played by Will Ferrell, laments that "Cheney's going to be one tough boss." However, these claims have likely been inflated. While Cheney had a strong influence on Bush and may have, at times, manipulated him, Cheney likely can not be considered a true puppet ruler.[4][5][6]

Current (as of 2021) Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić, cited by political scientist Krzysztof Zuba as an example of a head of government with extensive political dependence on a leader of the governing party,[7] has been described by opposition leaders and some observers as a puppet for President Aleksandar Vučić, whose office is constitutionally ceremonial with no significant executive power.[8][7][9][10] Brnabić never denied this, and even said that Vučić should act as a "mentor" of the prime minister.[11]


  1. ^ Pu Yi 1988, p 281
  2. ^ Pu Yi 1988, p 298
  3. ^ ""Huey Long Is a Superman": Gerald L. K. Smith Defends the Kingfish". historymatters.gmu.edu. Retrieved Aug 4, 2020.
  4. ^ Hayes, Stephen F. (2011-09-09). "Five myths about Dick Cheney". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  5. ^ Baker, Peter (2013-10-10). "The Final Insult in the Bush-Cheney Marriage (Published 2013)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  6. ^ Manchester, Julia (2017-11-04). "George W. Bush: Cheney, Rumsfeld 'didn't make one f---ing decision'". The Hill. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  7. ^ a b Zuba, Krzysztof (2019). "Leaders without Leadership: Surrogate Governments in Poland". Europe-Asia Studies. 72: 33–54. doi:10.1080/09668136.2019.1673321. S2CID 211437470.
  8. ^ Surk, Barbara (28 June 2017). "Serbia Gets Its First Female, and First Openly Gay, Premier". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  9. ^ Gouveia, José Fialho (7 July 2017). "Serbia chooses first woman to lead government and please EU". Diário de Notícias (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  10. ^ Karabeg, Omer (15 April 2018). "Ana Brnabić: Premijerka ili Vučićeva marioneta". Radio Slobodna Evropa (in Serbo-Croatian). Radio Free Europe. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Brnabić: Vučić da ima ulogu mentora nad premijerom" (in Serbian). Danas. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2019.