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Eurasia and the Appeal of Illiberalism

Russian President Vladimir Putin at an event dedicated to “proper patriotic upbringing of youth.” Russia is seen by some as the key illiberal influence in Eurasia, pushing a Eurasianist ideology that is mainly defined by the tenants of religion, obedience to authority and nationalism. (Photo: Russian Presidential Press Service)

Brexit, a Trump presidency and populist and pro-Russian leaders coming to power in Europe—the world has taken an increasingly populist tilt and experts are struggling to make sense of the new political trends.
 
Across Eurasia, populist and illiberal movements are readily apparent, yet the regional dynamic differs from that in the West, as well as in formerly communist states of Central Europe. It all has to do with context. In the West, the rise of illiberalism is taking place within a democratic framework. In most Eurasian states, on the other hand, authoritarianism is the dominant political system, thus enabling illiberal forces to gain traction faster, and act more forcefully.
 
“These trends [the rise of illiberal populism] have in common only the goal: the destruction or undermining of liberal democracy,” Jan Kubik, the director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London, told Eurasianet.org.
 

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Eurasia and the Appeal of Illiberalism

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