Skip to main content

The AUTHLIB consortium cordially invites you to the online discussion titled

“The Many Faces of Autocratization:
Diversity and Cooperation among Authoritarian Actors”

Thursday, March 30, 2023

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. CEST / 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. EST




The political developments of the last decade put key components of liberal democracy—checks and balances, pluralism, and individual rights—in peril across the globe with autocratizers seeming to draw inspiration from the same playbook. Beyond challenging the foundations of democracy at home, they are increasingly striving for developing international alliances, thereby posing a threat also to the liberal democratic order.

Most explanations of the recent trend of de-democratization focus on economic inequality, the negative side effects of globalization, political polarization, and the transformation of communication technologies. The values, ideas, and norms of the promoters of de-democratization receive less attention. However, if we want to strengthen the resilience of liberal democracies as well as the liberal democratic order, we need to understand what drives illiberal actors, what they value, what political visions they pursue, and what the prospects and limits of their cooperation are.

As its starting point, this panel discussion builds on the AUTHLIB Working Paper “Ideologies of Autocratization” by Zsolt Enyedi, which argues that the global emergence of a coherent ideology of autocratization is unlikely. Yet, there is an intensification of ideological framing, structured around illiberal conservatism, paternalist populism, and civilizationist ethnocentrism that is prevalent around the world. The consequences of this and its potential to fuel the international cooperation and alliance building of authoritarian actors will be explored during the debate.

Zsolt Enyedi, Professor, Central European University, Senior Researcher, CEU Democracy Institute
Zsuzsanna Végh, Visiting Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States

Nicolas Bouchet, Visiting Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States




More about the speakers

Zsolt Enyedi studied comparative social sciences, history, sociology and political science in Budapest and Amsterdam. The focus of his research interests is on party politics, comparative government, church and state relations, and political psychology (especially authoritarianism, prejudices, and political tolerance). His articles have appeared in journals such as Political Psychology, European Journal of Political Research, Political Studies, West European Politics, Party Politics, Political Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, Journal of Ideologies, and European Review. Zsolt Enyedi was the 2003 recipient of the Rudolf Wildenmann Prize and the 2004 winner of the Bibó Award. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington DC), Kellogg Institute (Notre Dame University), the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (Wassenaar), the European University Institute (Florence), the Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University, Department of Politics and International Relations and Pembroke College, University of Oxford. His most recent book, Party System Closure, co-authored with Fernando Casal Bertoa, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021.

Zsuzsanna Végh is a visiting fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Her analytical focus lies on Central and Eastern Europe, especially the foreign and EU policies of the Visegrad countries, the state of democracy, and the role of the populist radical right in the region. Zsuzsanna has extensive experience working at the intersection of policy analysis and academic research. She is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the European University Viadrina where she focuses on Central and Eastern Europe’s radical right and its impact on foreign policy. She has been an associate researcher at the European Council on Foreign Relations and authored reports for Freedom House’s flagship project, Nations in Transit, on her native Hungary. She was a ReThink.CEE Fellow at GMF in 2019-20. Previously, she worked at the Center for European Neighborhood Studies of Central European University. Zsuzsanna holds master’s degrees in international relations and European studies from Central European University and in international studies from the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.

Nicolas Bouchet is a visiting fellow based in Berlin. From 2014 until 2016, Nick was a TAPIR research fellow with the GMF Europe Program, based in GMF’s Berlin office and then in the Washington office. He conducts research on the challenges and prospects for United States and the EU in democracy promotion in post-Soviet countries (especially those of the EU’s Eastern Partnership), and on relations between the United States, the EU, and Russia. He holds a PhD from the University of London and is the author of Democracy Promotion as U.S. Foreign Policy: Bill Clinton and Democratic Enlargement (Routledge, 2015).


Photo credit: Jørgen Håland on Unsplash

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x