Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, April 29, 2014

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, April 29, 2014

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Christian Caryl takes issue with New York Times reporting on Ukraine and Moldova.

Andrew Foxall and Ola Cichowlas find that pro-Russian groups in Ukraine’s east maintain links to Moscow — despite Putin’s insistence that they have nothing to do with this "grassroots" unrest.

Juan Nagel highlights yet another incentive to protest in Venezuela: Maduro’s interference in schools. Javier Corrales defends Venezuela’s protests from the charge that they rely too exclusively on the country’s middle class.

Heather McRobie explores lessons that Syria might draw from Bosnia’s post-war mistakes.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

In the latest issue of the Journal of Democracy, Donald L. Horowitz examines some of the problems with ethnic power-sharing systems in new democracies. Adrienne LeBas argues that such mechanisms actually undermined the opposition’s political power in Zimbabwe, handing power back to longtime President Mugabe in the 2013 elections. And Arch Puddington argues that the global decline in freedom stems from weakening democratic leadership in strategically or economically significant states.

Jay Ulfelder analyzes the origins of democracy in terms of a struggle between wealth and power.

A new book for the International Center for Transitional Justice, edited by Clara Ramírez-Barat, explores the links between culture and the effectiveness of national transitional justice mechanisms.

Human Rights Watch urges Thailand to investigate the killing of a "Red Shirt poet" known for criticizing the country’s censorship policies.

At the Monkey Cage, Marc Lynch argues that elections in the Arab world are once again becoming empty exercises just a few years after the Arab Spring.

International Crisis Group insists that though Burma’s military has been a strong leader for transition thus far, it will need to relinquish some of its power for true democracy to take root. (In the photo above, supporters gather to mourn the death of Win Tin, a former journalist and prominent democracy activist in Burma.)

In Jadaliyya, Maya Mikdashi frames Lebanon’s presidential election as a referendum on how the country’s civil war should be remembered.