Conspiracy Theories as a Tool of Mass Mobilization

Become a Patron! Conspiracy Theories and Mass Mobilization Karl Lowenstein wrote long ago, "Fascism is not an ideology but a political technique." Totalitarianism is distinct from authoritarianism. Both are undemocratic, but totalitarianism mobilizes the people. It makes them complicit in the assault on democracy. It's difficult to wrap your head around. Authoritarianism, on the other... Continue Reading →

Between Russia and China: Anja Mihr on Central Asia

Anja Mihr is an associate professor of Political Science at the OSCE Academy at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and the founder and program director of the Center on Governance through Human Rights at the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform (gGmbH) in Berlin. Recently, she edited the volume Between Peace and Conflict in the East and the West Studies on Transformation... Continue Reading →

Power as Revenge and Redemption

Become a Patron! Putin's Revenge of Power As Vladimir Putin rampages his army through Ukraine, observers do not sense the cold calculation of strategic analysis. Instead, it’s impossible to interpret his behavior as anything less than revenge. He wants revenge from the West for the breakup of the Soviet Union. He wants revenge from Ukraine... Continue Reading →

Why the Armies of Arabia Remain Weak Institutions

Armies of Arabia Early in the book, Armies of Arabia, Zoltan Barany writes, “Perhaps the most important and conspicuous attribute that all Arab armies in republics and monarchies share is their remarkable ineffectiveness on the battlefield.” This is where most of us need to start. Barany seeks to understand why the Gulf monarchies field ineffective... Continue Reading →

Personalism: A Podcast Primer

Personalism in Politics Timothy Frye in his recent book, Weak Strongman, describes Russia as a personalist autocracy. He distinguishes it from other forms of autocracy such as military dictatorships or single party states. Moreover, he emphasizes how different autocracies behave differently from one another. It can be a bit cliché to say institutions matter, but they... Continue Reading →

Timothy Frye Says Putin is a Weak Strongman

Timothy Frye joins the podcast to discuss Russia's personalist autocracy. Tim is a Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy at Columbia University and a research director at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. His new book is Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin's Russia.   Putin in the past could claim to have won... Continue Reading →

Russia: A Podcast Primer

An Introduction to Russia Over the next two weeks the Democracy Paradox will explore the politics of Russia. A lot of conversations focus on Russia’s foreign policy. But like most countries, Russia’s domestic politics influences its relations with the world. As Kathryn Stoner succinctly puts it, “The regime still fears the potential instability that comes... Continue Reading →

Up ↑