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Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, March 17, 2014

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, March 17, 2014

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Jeffrey Tayler argues that Vladimir Putin isn’t crazy to worry about Western encroachment in Eastern Europe. Michael Cecire contends that inviting Georgia into NATO is the best response to Russian intervention in Crimea.

Christian Caryl offers some guidelines on how to identify a genuine fascist.

Askold Krushelnycky describes the Orwellian world of pre-referendum Crimea.

Graeme Reid reports on the latest attempt by Malaysia’s ruling party to discredit opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim by accusing him of sodomy.

Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez examines the Venezuelan opposition’s increasingly mystical bent. Juan Nagel analyzes the Venezuelan government’s latest economic decree — and arrives at some surprising conclusions.

Mohamed El Dahshan describes the challenges facing online education in Arab states.

Anna Nemtsova attends a lecture by the Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Kiev, who is trying to build bridges between the two countries.

Alina Rocha Menocal, Gina Bergh, and Laura Rodríguez-Takeuchi ask what people most value in their governments.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

In the New York Review of Books, Christopher de Bellaigue provides a handy summary of the political battles that are tearing Turkey apart.

Democracy Digest wonders whether the United States "should give up on Arab democracy."

The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins scolds the West for talking tough on Crimea despite the lack of realistic options for action.

Writing for the Atlantic Council, Mohammed Alaa Ghanem and Shlomo Bolts explain why barrel bombs in Syria are a U.S. national security issue.

In the latest issue of Foreign Policy, Francis Wade shadows Burma’s filmmakers, who, after decades of censorship, are finally able to make the movies they want. Over at the Irrawaddy, Esther Htusan reports on rising drug abuse in Burma’s opium-growing regions.

Writing in Financial Times, Amy Kazmin finds that Indian Muslims are increasingly nervous about the approaching general election. (In the photo above, Arvind Kejriwal, head of India’s Aam Aadmi Party, attends a road show to support the party’s candidates.)

At African Arguments, Aly Verjee offers a vivid reporter’s postcard from South Sudan.

Human Rights Watch urges the Rome Ministerial conference to address arbitrary detention and displacement in Libya.

And in a new report, the Wilson Center explores opportunities available to women in the Middle East today — and the obstacles that persist.