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January 2020, Volume 31, Issue 1

Iranians Turn Away from the Islamic Republic

Iran is in the midst of an ideological crisis. Growing numbers of Iranians are rejecting the religious underpinnings of the Supreme Leader’s rule, and turning their backs on the Islamic Republic. The regime’s only response is harsher repression—a response that will deepen the anger that is bringing everyday Iranians out into the streets.

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October 2022, Volume 33, Issue 4

How to Compete in Unfair Elections

Opposition movements often boycott rigged polls rather than risk legitimizing an autocrat. It is usually a mistake. Here is the playbook for how one opposition seized the advantage.

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October 2018, Volume 29, Issue 4

Understanding Authoritarian Regionalism

Taking advantage of broad global respect for regionalism, authoritarian regimes are using their own regional organizations to bolster fellow autocracies. These groupings offer a mechanism for lending legitimacy, redistributing resources, and insulating members from democratic influences.

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July 2020, Volume 31, Issue 3

The Future of Nonviolent Resistance

In the decade leading up to the covid-19 pandemic, nonviolent civil resistance grew more popular than ever—but its effectiveness had already started to plummet. The future of nonviolent resistance may depend on movements’ ability to move beyond mass protests toward exploring alternative tactics and developing smarter, longer-term strategies.

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April 2022, Volume 33, Issue 2

The Rebirth of the Liberal World Order?

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has done something for the world’s democrats they could seemingly not do for themselves—given them a renewed unity, purpose, and resolve. Putin’s reckless gamble may unexpectedly strengthen democracy in Europe and beyond.

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January 2021, Volume 32, Issue 1

The Arab Spring at 10: Kings or People?

A decade ago, Arab peoples stood up and sought to replace their rulers with a more democratic political project. But Arab autocrats have a project of their own. Can the people gain ground in the struggle for self-government, or will their rulers bear it away?

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January 2017, Volume 28, Issue 1

The Signs of Deconsolidation

Political scientists have long assumed that “democratic consolidation” is a one-way street, but survey evidence of declining support for democracy from across the established democracies suggests that deconsolidation is a genuine danger.

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January 2011, Volume 22, Issue 1

Two Essays on China’s Quest for Democracy

Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, is best known for his eloquent and incisive essays. Two of them are featured here: “Can It Be That the Chinese People Deserve Only ‘Party-Led Democracy’?” and “Changing the Regime by Changing Society.”