Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, March 24, 2014

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, March 24, 2014

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Alex Gladstein mourns Cameroonian musician Lapiro de Mbanga, one of the most prominent opponents of the country’s dictator.

Christian Caryl argues that President Obama deserves more credit for a shrewd move in support of Libya’s embattled central government.

Anna Nemtsova finds out how Russians feel about U.S. sanctions, and checks in with Kiev’s bad news.

Andrew Foxall and Oren Kessler examine the role of ultra-right-wingers in Ukraine’s current government.

Mohamed Eljarh reports on rapidly deteriorating conditions that have pushed Libya to the brink of civil war.

Uzra Khan explains how front-runner Narendra Modi is exploiting the moral and institutional decline of India’s private media.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

A group of 65 Middle East experts, former members of Congress, and ex-U.S. diplomats send a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging increased support from Washington for Tunisia’s nascent democracy.

In El País, Spaniards mark the death of Adolfo Suárez, the prime minister who guided their country in its post-Franco transition to democracy.

Writing for the New Republic, Anne Applebaum argues that people-powered movements are overrated.

Writing for the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, Sara Abdel Rahim asks whether Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, widely expected to be Egypt’s next president, can claim to represent the interests of the country’s women. David D. Kirkpatrick, writing for the New York Times, reports on an Egyptian court’s decision to sentence 529 pro-Morsi protesters to death.

In Reuters, Andrew R.C. Marshall argues that Indonesia’s pro-democracy decentralization program planted the seeds for today’s widespread corruption. Writing for cogitASIA, Derwin Pereira suggests that Indonesia’s newly-nominated gubernatorial candidate Joko Widodo might be able to turn the country around.

Human Rights Watch explains why Russia’s takeover of Crimea amounts to a military occupation.

A new International Crisis Group report urges Cote d’Ivoire’s government to address post-electoral violence in the country’s unstable regions before it boils over into full-blown conflict.

In the Wall Street Journal, Victor Ponta, prime minister of Romania, calls for greater economic integration between the United States and Europe in order to build a "transatlantic superpower" capable of reinforcing Western security.

On the Monkey Cage, Turkuler Isiksel explains why Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has a "minimalist" understanding of democracy. (In the photo above, a woman waves the flag of Turkey’s ruling party during a pro-Erdogan demonstration.)