20 Years of Leading Analysis

The Authoritarian Surge

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Op-Ed American Interest
While the world waits for a Fourth Wave of Democracy, it is witnessing a diametrically different phenomenon: a surge of new authoritarianism.
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The wait for the Fourth Wave of Democracy continues. Several times over the past decade, it seemed that it was about to unfold: in 2003–05, with the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia, the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine, and the “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan; and in 2011 with the “Arab Spring”, which sparked hopes in a part of the world that had shown virtually no movement in democratic development for decades. The turmoil in Egypt, the difficulties experienced by Libya and the daily tragedies in Syria have placed those hopes on hold. 

Shevtsova chaired the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, dividing her time between Carnegie’s offices in Washington, DC, and Moscow. She had been with Carnegie since 1995.
Lilia Shevtsova
Senior Associate
Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Program
Moscow Center
More from this author...
As the wait for the fourth wave continues, we are witnessing a diametrically different phenomenon: the surge of new authoritarianism. It is happening across a culturally and historically diverse set of countries but is particularly noteworthy in the countries of Eurasia and even Central Europe. We see it in Russia, Belarus and Azerbaijan in its harshest forms, and in milder versions in Turkey, Hungary and, some even worry, Georgia. The recent Freedom House report, Nations in Transit, paints the following picture: 

Several of Russia’s neighbors saw increasing pressure on political opposition and civil society. Five of the 12 countries in the Eurasia region suffered score declines on Nations in Transit’s civil society indicator, including Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Belarus, which stepped up their persecution of perceived enemies through legal and extralegal means.

In Central Europe, most states were able to respond to the mounting public backlash against unpopular austerity measures without straying from core democratic norms. However, in Romania, a new center-left government treated public dissatisfaction with President Traian Basescu and the outgoing center-right government as a mandate to entrench its own rule and browbeat critical media outlets. Hungary, which showed dramatic decline in last year’s report, slipped further as the administration of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continued to defend its controversial reorganization and restaffing of the country’s media, data protection, and judicial oversight bodies, while also pursuing legislation to regulate additional dimensions of political and social activity.

Let us complement this report with trends pointing to the emergence of new electoral authoritarianism in Egypt, with a duly elected President from the Muslim Brotherhood, and the case of Tayyip Erdogan, the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Turkey, seeking to establish a sultanist regime in his country while relying on support from the conservative majority. …

Read the full text of this article in the American Interest.

End of document


Source http://carnegie.ru/2013/07/03/authoritarian-surge/gdmk

In Fact



of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


now needs urgent assistance.


political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.


years ago

Carnegie began an internship program. Notable alumni include Samantha Power.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


million people killed

in Cold War conflicts.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.


new airports

are set to be built in China by 2015.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


million Russian citizens

are considered “ethnic Muslims.”

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