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Podcast: Fighting for democracy in "Europe's last dictatorship"


Listen: Is there a path to democracy for Europe's last dictatorship, Belarus? Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya discusses her hopes and fears for the country with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World Podcast. President Alexander Lukashenko has maintained a tight grip on power in Belarus for the last 26 years and rigged the results of his last election which led to widespread protest and unrest in his country, though few consequences globally. But will he now be held accountable after diverting a flight between two European capitals to arrest a dissident journalist? And just how close are he and Vladimir Putin?

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Authoritarian Airlines

Co-captains Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin have an important pre-flight safety announcement.

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China's uncertain future & its new three-child policy

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Happy post long weekend. I want to do a quick take today on China, because you will have seen that the two-child policy has now gone the way of the one child policy. It is now a three-child policy. The one child policy, when they got rid of it, didn't really move people towards faster childbearing, as education rates improve, as well improves ... demographic explosion is reduced. And it's very hard to turn that around with a pro natality policy. Very few countries around the world have been able to accomplish that. And China is clearly not one of them.

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The attack on the Capitol and the health of American democracy

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum had a disturbing takeaway from the Capitol riots of January 6th: An unignorable portion of the American population revolted against democracy itself. "That wasn't Republicans attacking Democrats," Applebaum argues. "What you saw was a group of people who were attacking the system itself."

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Autocrats, alternative facts & dystopian futures

It's a fact that can be hard to swallow: even the most brutal of dictators can be democratically elected. Many voters, it turns out, like autocrats. So how popular are anti-democratic movements in some of the world's strongest democracies? More so than you might think. And it's a trend that's growing.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

How China & Russia exploit civil unrest as democracy’s failure

A tried-and-true argument that autocrats frequently make to their constituents isn't so much that life is amazing at home, but that it's just as bad elsewhere. That's according to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum, who joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to unpack the enduring allure of authoritarianism around the world. "Everything that goes wrong inside the United States or in Scandinavia or in Southern Europe is immediately beamed back to Russians in the form of state propaganda," Applebaum says.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

Authoritarianism's appeal when democracy disappoints

What is so attractive about authoritarianism? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum argues it has to do with a fundamental civic disillusionment. "The drive towards authoritarianism for the last 100 years resulted from people who feel some kind of disappointment with democracy." It can be a political disappointment or a personal one, Applebaum argues, that pushes people away from democratic institutions. And it's a trend that has only grown in recent years in some of the world's oldest and strongest democracies, including in the United States.

So how do governments make the case for democracy? That's the subject of Applebaum's interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, which began airing on US public television stations nationwide on Friday, March 5.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

Why anti-democratic movements in Europe and the US are remarkably similar

Political movements that promote authoritarian leaders and anti-democratic governments have gained significant ground in Eastern Europe in the past twenty years. And according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum, it's a trend that goes beyond that specific region. "This will sound very bizarre, but the trajectory of events and the nature of political debate in Poland is amazingly similar to the United States, the kinds of arguments that people make, the, the level of polarization… you can see this impulse to destroy and undermine the institutions of democracy everywhere." What is the appeal of such movements and what has the pandemic done to expand their influence?

Applebaum and Ian Bremmer take on those questions on GZERO World, which began airing on US public television stations nationwide on Friday, March 5. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

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