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.

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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.

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Hungary’s U-Turn: Retreating from Democracy

The great achievements of Hungary’s 1989–90 transition—including democracy, rule of law, market-oriented reform, and pluralism in intellectual life—are being dismantled as the world looks the other way.


Authoritarianism Goes Global: Countering Democratic Norms

Favored by global conditions that lean their way, authoritarians have been busy over the last decade coming up with new and inventive ways to thwart the global advance of democracy and human rights.

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Authoritarianism Goes Global: Cyberspace Under Siege

Rosy assumptions once held that the Internet would inevitably undermine unfree regimes. A look around the world today, however, indicates that something very different and far more disturbing is going on.


Authoritarianism Goes Global: Election Monitoring vs. Disinformation

Nonpartisan election monitoring has helped to foster democratization over the last thirty years, but now dictators are trying to sabotage it, often by spreading lies and confusion.


Nigeria’s Hopeful Election

In a surprising turn of events, opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari was able to outpoll incumbent Goodluck Jonathan—and the latter peacefully acknowledged his defeat.


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.


Comment on Møller: The Importance of Equality

It is fine to acknowledge the importance of law-based rule to the eventual rise of modern democracy, but we must not overlook the even greater contribution of the idea of equality.


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.


Structural Conditions and Democratization

How are trends in global democratization likely to be shaped by the distribution of such key structural factors as income, ethnic or religious diversity, and the quality of the state?


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?


Weighing the Asian Model

A review of The Nature of Asian Politics by Bruce Gilley.


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 newly elected Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari’s May 29 inaugural address.
  • Excerpts from an April 30 speech given by Leon Wieseltier honoring the slain Russian opposition politician and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov.
  • A brief excerpt from the conclusion of the report “Putin.War,” which Nemtsov was preparing at the time of his murder.
  • Excerpts from jailed Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova's March 11 letter from prison.

News and Notes

NED Democracy Awards; Journalism Awards; World Press Freedom Day; Errata; International Forum