July 2015

Volume 26, Issue 3


Europe and Azerbaijan: The End of Shame

A few years ago, Europe’s most important intergovernmental human-rights institution, the Council of Europe, crossed over to the dark side. Like Dorian Gray, the dandy in Oscar Wilde’s story of moral decay, it sold its soul. And as with Dorian Gray, who retained his good looks, the inner decay of the Council of Europe remains hidden from view.


Rwanda: Progress or Powder Keg?

Rwanda under Paul Kagame has been hailed for its visionary leadership, economic progress, and reforms in education, health, and agriculture. Yet the regime’s autocratic rule, human-rights abuses, persecution of the Hutu majority, and growing inequality point to an ominous future.

Authoritarianism Goes Global

The Medieval Roots of Democracy

Europe in the Middle Ages was hardly democratic, but it did have law-based institutions that could and did stay the hands of kings, laying a crucial basis for future state-building and democracy-building alike.

China After the Reform Era

The post–post-Mao era has now begun. The reforms that brought economic growth and greater openness to China are being unwound, while an assertive new leader strikes off in a populist and nationalist direction.

Authoritarian Successor Parties

Why do significant numbers of people, after gaining the right to choose their leaders via free and fair elections, vote for political parties with deep roots in dictatorship, and how do such parties affect the consolidation of democracy?

Election Watch

Reports on elections in Benin, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, and Turkey.

Documents on Democracy

Excerpts from: Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari’s inaugural address; a speech given by Leon Wieseltier honoring the slain Russian opposition politician and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov; the conclusion of the report “Putin.War”; Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova's letter from prison.