Volodymyr Zelensky is far more than a brave wartime leader. He began changing the tenor and direction of Ukrainian politics long before the people made him their president.
Volume 33, Issue 3
The War in Ukraine
The more determined democracies are to avoid war, the greater the risk that autocracies will wage it.
Why did Russia invade Ukraine? And why are Russian forces fighting so poorly? The internal logic of its personalist dictatorship is to blame.
More than window dressing, public-opinion surveys and elections provide a crucial insight into the Russian people’s relationship with their regime.
The first two months of the war alone turned the Russian clock back decades, undoing thirty years of post-Soviet economic gains and reducing the country to an international pariah state.
The case of Hungary shows how autocrats can rig elections legally, using legislative majorities to change the law and neutralize the opposition at every turn, no matter what strategy they adopt.
A half-century after his father declared martial law and made himself a dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been elected president of the Philippines by a stunning majority. There is little stropping him from dismantling what remains of the country’s democracy.
Xi Jinping undercut China’s political norms to cement his own power and brand of rule. But in so doing the “Chairman of Everything” has introduced new vulnerabilities for the regime.
A group of corrupt authoritarian powerholders has impoverished Sri Lanka and even brought starvation to the island. But behind their misrule lies the deeper and longer-term problem of unconstrained majority rule.
The Kremlin wields food as a weapon and a shield against Western interference. But Putin’s push for food autarky could backfire, driving up prices and turning Russians against the regime.
Swarms of “nano-influencers,” are rapidly reshaping social-media propaganda campaigns, upending political discourse in democracies around the world.
Combating Beijing’s Sharp Power
Influence operations by the People’s Republic of China and its “united front” organs were exposed years ago, but civil society and Chinese-Australians were first in understanding how to counter them.
No state on the planet is more heavily targeted by authoritarians’ information warfare than the Republic of China on Taiwan. And no other state and free society are better at resisting the daily onslaught.
Any open society’s best weapon against Chinese influence operations is its openness—the ability to investigate and expose sharp-power manipulations, diminishing their strength.
Does the author of the nineteenth-century classic, Democracy in America, still matter?
Excerpts from: Journalist Lian Qingchuan’s reflections on the Shanghai lockdown; Evgenia Kara-Murza’s testimony before the UN Human Rights Council; independent expert assessment of Russian violations of the international Genocide Convention; Moldovan president Maia Sandu’s commencement address; Larry Diamond’s acceptance speech from the 2022 Democracy Service Medal award ceremony; U.S. president Ronald Reagan’s Westminster Address.