Journal of Democracy April 2022: What Putin Fears Most, The Rise of Subversion Inc., and The Rebirth of the Liberal World Order?

As Putin’s brutal war nears its third month, he still blames NATO for provoking the invasion. But what is his true fear? Whatever Putin’s endgame, the global response has been powerful. Will Russia’s unjustified war on Ukraine rejuvenate the liberal world order?

Plus: How international surveillance startups are using high-tech tools to threaten freedom and democracy; and why autocrats are supporting women’s rights to improve their bad reputations.

Read the Journal of Democracy’s just-released April issue, available for free on Project MUSE through May 15. 

  • Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine may bring about a “Rebirth of the Liberal World Order,” writes Lucan Way. The worst European war in decades has already produced renewed unity in the West and could ultimately strengthen democracy in Europe and beyond.
  • Vladimir Putin has used the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO as a pretext for the Russian invasion. But in their essay, “What Putin Fears Most,” Robert Person and Michael McFaul argue that it is a flourishing democracy on Russia’s border that most worries the Russian dictator.
  • International spying and digital subversion used to be the province of governments alone, but now anyone who has the cash can order high-tech snooping and surveillance, writes Ronald Deibert in “Subversion Inc: The Age of Private Espionage.”

Also in this issue:

  • Elin Bjarnegård and Pär Zetterberg introduce the concept of “autocratic genderwashing”—when dictators champion gender equity to appear liberal and democratic while distracting from their abuses.
  • Beijing continues to innovate ways of flexing its muscles at home and abroad. Samantha Hoffman writes about China’s tech-enhanced authoritarianism,” and Aynne Kokas details how China is shaping the global entertainment industry.
  • Scott Radnitz analyzes how the political competition inherent to democracies is driving the spread of conspiracy theories.
  • Evan Lieberman and Rorisang Lekalake detail how South Africa is in far better shape than generally credited. The Rainbow Nation is a democratic success, with a vibrant political landscape.
  • Presidential elections in Honduras and Nicaragua had opposite outcomes. Will Freeman and Lucas Perelló explain how Honduras’s opposition beat the authoritarian incumbent, while Kai Thaler and Eric Mosinger examine why Nicaragua’s opposition failed to defeat Daniel Ortega.
  • Amy Slipowitz and Sarah Repucci analyze the findings of Freedom House’s 2021 Freedom in World report.

View the full Table of Contents.

For more on the war in Ukraine, visit the JoD Online:

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