Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, April 21, 2014

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, April 21, 2014

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Reporting from the Ukrainian city of Odessa, Christian Caryl explores the thinking behind Vladimir Putin’s decision to revive a long-forgotten historical term for southeastern Ukraine. Caryl also maps out plans by Odessa’s out-gunned activists to defend the city from a Russian takeover.

Mohamed El Dahshan dissects the likely economic policies of Egyptian presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Amel Boubekeur reports on Algeria’s bubbling dissent and the state’s dire need for reform as its citizens vote in presidential elections. (In the photo above, one of President Bouteflika’s supporters holds up campaign posters in Algiers the day after the election.)

Mohamed Eljarh takes a look at Libya’s deteriorating transition after a threat to the prime minister’s family leads him to resign after just five days on the job.

Kristen Sample offers tips for combating corruption even in ostensibly healthy democracies.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

In a new report, NYU’s Center for Constitutional Transitions and International IDEA assess power-sharing mechanisms in the semi-presidential systems that emerged after the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen.

Writing for the Institute of Modern Russia, Alexander Podrabinek argues for the creation of a body of international laws to regulate separatism.

At Al Jazeera, Baba Umar investigates how the practice of "paid news" is distorting the political process in India.

On cogitASIA, Aung Din tracks the emergence of two major parties in Burma, where the role of ethnicity in politics has become more important than ever before.

The Christian Science Monitor‘s Louisa Loveluck reports on the Egyptian police’s failure to intervene in ethnic clashes that broke out in Upper Egypt last week.

On Buzzfeed, Sheera Frenkel and Maged Atef explain how the Egyptian revolutionaries conducting Morsi’s ouster ended up taking orders from the military.

Writing for the Atlantic, Thor Halvorssen and Alex Gladstein describe the horrors of Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

On an International Crisis Group blog, Cedric Barnes writes that the Kenyan authorities’ targeting of the Somali minority is exacerbating the country’s ethnic divides.

In his new short film Monotown, Brendan Hoffman documents the story of a Russian town whose fate depends on an unusual, declining industry: asbestos mining. (For the DemLab companion piece, see Anna Nemtsova’s column from last year on the beleaguered town of Asbest.)