Transitional Justice and Its Discontents

The impulse to have crimes against humanity investigated and punished, like the impulse behind “truth and reconciliation” commissions, is understandable. But legalism cannot supersede the hard and messy work of politics.

PDF icon Transitional Justice and Its Discontents

The Authoritarian Resurgence: Forward to the Past in Russia

Even if Vladimir Putin were to lose his grip on office, the “Russian system” might only wind up exchanging one form of personalized power for another in its endless search for self-perpetuation.
PDF icon The Authoritarian Resurgence: Forward to the Past in Russia

The Authoritarian Resurgence: Autocratic Legalism in Venezuela

Why do some hybrid regimes remain stable over time, while others become more authoritarian? Venezuela’s autocratic turn has been driven by the ruling party’s declining electoral fortunes and by a foreign policy that has shielded it from international scrutiny.

PDF icon The Authoritarian Resurgence: Autocratic Legalism in Venezuela MORE

The Authoritarian Resurgence: Iran’s Paradoxical Regime

Iran’s authoritarianism is more flexible and more durable than its detractors would hope, yet more fragile and endangered than its defenders claim.


The Authoritarian Resurgence: Iran Abroad

The Iranian regime has sought to recast conventional principles of human rights and political participation by forging alliances with like-minded regimes and by broadcasting its narrative to an international audience.


The Authoritarian Resurgence: Saudi Arabia’s Anxious Autocrats

Saudi Arabia’s vast oil wealth sustains the antidemocratic policies that a nervous royal regime uses to defend against the threats and problems that confront it.


Exits from Military Rule: Lessons for Burma

Burma’s troubled transition is imperiled by the reluctance of the military to loosen its grip. What lessons can the Burmese learn from other East Asian countries that have emerged from military rule?


Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement: Beijing’s Broken Promises

China has gone back on its well-documented vow (and solemn treaty obligation) to allow Hong Kong genuine universal suffrage. Abrogated commitments and fake democracy are not the path to a thriving Hong Kong that feels at home within the People’s Republic of China.


Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement: The Protests and Beyond

The demonstrations of late 2014 captured the world’s attention with their scale, passion, and resourcefulness, but in the end were unable to move dug-in local and national authorities. Yet time is still on the side of the demonstrators.

The Freedom House Survey for 2014: A Return to the Iron Fist

In a year marked by escalating terrorism, the use of more brutal repression by authoritarian regimes, and Russia’s annexation of a neighboring country’s territory, the state of freedom worsened significantly in nearly every part of the world.


Patching Things Up in Mozambique

Although elections take place on schedule in Mozambique, they are of dubious quality, and the most recent one was held amid an uneasy peace following renewed outbursts of civil strife. Major new gas and mineral finds promise a shot at greater prosperity, but also hold the threat of a “resource curse.”


Millennials and East Asia’s Democratic Future

East Asia’s millennials have grown up in an age of rapid socioeconomic progress, allowing them to become better educated, more urbanized, and more technologically connected than previous generations. Will they use their collective power to become agents of democratic change?


Stealing Russia Blind

A review of Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? by Karen Dawisha.


The “Power-Sharing” Trap

A review of Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton.


Election Watch

Reports on elections in Comoros, Croatia, El Salvador, Estonia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tunisia, and Zambia.


Documents on Democracy

Excerpts from:

  • newly elected Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign manifesto, “A Compassionate Maithri Governance: A Stable Country,”
  • Newsweek Polska's interview with Boris Nemtsov just hours before he was gunned down in Moscow on February 27,
  • opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's statement of innocence issued after the Federal Court of Malaysia upheld his sodomy conviction and 5-year sentence on February 10, and
  • a statement issued by Maina Kiai, the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, at the conclusion of his visit to Kazakhstan on January 27.



News and Notes

Civil Society Center Opens in Prague; Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership; Geneva Human-Rights Summit; Ditchley Conference; Exploring an Agenda for Active Citizenship; Clarification; NED’s International Forum