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Articles on Authoritarianism

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The militarisation of the Zimbabwean government raises serious questions about who really wields political power - President Emmerson Mnangagwa or army leaders. Mujahid Safodien/AFP via Getty Images

Shadow states are the biggest threat to democracy in Africa: fresh reports detail how

The extent of democracy capture varies markedly between countries. It’s much higher in states such as Zimbabwe, where the government has never changed hands.
President Vladimir Putin addresses his United Russia party at its June 2021 convention, where members convened to choose candidates and draft a strategy for the country’s upcoming election. Grigory Sysoyev\TASS via Getty Images

Vladimir Putin plans to win Russia’s parliamentary election no matter how unpopular his party is

Despite a 27% approval rating, Putin’s United Russia party can maintain its legislative majority in September through manipulation and fraud, says an expert on Russian elections.
Many religious groups often get labeled as cults. David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images

What is a cult?

A religion scholar explains why the label of ‘cult’ gets in the way of understanding new religions and political movements.
A soldier stands guard in front of the Brazilian national flag on Army Day in Sao Paulo, 18 April 2019. Miguel Schincariol/AFP

Brazil: the road to Jair Bolsonaro’s militarised democracy

Don’t be fooled by the recent resignation of three members of the military in Brazil – the country is heading down an increasingly militarised path.
Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele promised voters change. Instead, he seems to be reviving El Salvador’s authoritarian past. Camilo Freedman/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

El Salvador’s façade of democracy crumbles as president purges his political opponents

El Salvador ‘is inching back toward its authoritarian past’ after President Nayib Bukele fired five supreme court justices and the attorney general – essentially the only checks on his power.
Police arrest a protester at a Moscow rally in support of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who fell ill while in prison and is now hospitalized. Alexander Demianchuk\TASS via Getty Images

For Vladimir Putin and other autocrats, ruthlessly repressing the opposition is often a winning way to stay in power

There’s not much the world can do to stop authoritarian rulers from persecuting their political opponents, as shown by the standoff over Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who is ill and imprisoned.
Among the many issues that Joe Biden has to deal with, what place does he reserve for the alliance of democracies project that he mentioned during his presidential campaign? Chip Somodevilla/AFP

Europe must push Joe Biden’s ‘alliance of democracies’

The new US administration has talked about setting up an alliance of democracies. For the time being, the project seems vague. Yet such an alliance is necessary.
At the Rose Monday carnival in Düsseldorf, Germany, on February 15, Vladimir Putin was portrayed in an unfortunate posture in front of Alexei Navalny. Ina Fassbender/AFP

Debate: Is the wind changing for Vladimir Putin?

Can the arrival of a new administration in Washington and the demonstrations in Moscow demanding the release of Alexei Navalny destabilize the strongman of Moscow?
A Donald Trump supporter wears a gas mask and holds a bust of him after he and hundreds of others stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

What is fascism?

Given the current, often erroneous, use of the term ‘fascist’ to describe political movements and leaders, it’s important to determine what fascism is and is not.
White supremacists clash with police in Charlottesville in 2017. Evan Nesterak/Wikipedia

Debate: A geopolitical reading of fear

Despite moments of hope, worries about the present and fears that the future may be even worse have been rising for decades. What can geopolitics teach us about the global impact of fear?
Trump yells while visiting a portion of the border wall in Alamo, Tex. on Jan. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump impeached a second time – but Trumpism will live on

Donald Trump has become the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. But the ignorance and lawlessness of Trumpism will have a dangerous afterlife even after Trump has left Washington.
U.S. President Donald Trump greets Russian President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting in Osaka, Japan, June, 28, 2019. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Trump’s use of the authoritarian playbook will have lasting consequences

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has exposed the fragility of democratic institutions, mirroring a global trend in authoritarianism, and that will have a lasting effect on the United States.

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