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The recording of AUTHLIB’s panel discussion and working paper launch titled “The Many Faces of Autocratization: Diversity and Cooperation among Authoritarian Actors,” organized on March 30, 2023, is now available on AUTHLIB’s YouTube channel.

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


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