Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, December 7, 2015

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, December 7, 2015

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Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez explains how Venezuela’s President Maduro lost the empire of propaganda he inherited from his charismatic predecessor. Juan Nagel cautions that the Venezuelan opposition’s big victory in this weekend’s legislative elections doesn’t mean that Maduro is done for.

Peter Pomerantsev and Nathan Gamester show how the Russian media ensure that Putin’s popularity stays sky-high even as the country’s economy sputters.

Suat Kiniklioglu argues that Turkey’s President Erdogan and his party will keep winning elections until the opposition gets it together.

Farah Samti reports on the crisis facing Tunisia’s ruling party, which might lose its majority in the wake of an internal split.

And Alex de Waal explains why peace in South Sudan cannot be mandated — it must be bought.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

The Washington Post’s Juan Forero and Anatoly Kurmanaev report on the opposition’s legislative victory in Venezuela. Writing for the Carnegie Endowment, Andreas Feldmann, Federico Merke, and Oliver Stuenkel explain how this election will become a litmus test for regional mechanisms that are supposed to strengthen democracy. And The Economist gives an amusing glimpse of Venezuela’s language of political insults.

In the American Interest, Katya Gorchinskaya paints a grim portrait of a Ukraine still struggling to wrest its political system away from the oligarchs and their cronies. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Council’s Melinda Haring notes some signs of progress in the country’s fight against corruption.

In the New York Times Magazine, Wes Enzinna takes a fascinating inside look at a surprisingly liberal Kurdish enclave in Syria’s far north.

In BloombergView, Mac Margolis reports on the political turmoil roiling Brazil as President Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment in the midst of economic malaise.

In the Panam Post, José Azel foresees the evolution of Cuba’s political model into a kind of false democracy, similar to Mexico during PRI rule.

And finally, if you’re in Washington this Wednesday, visit a presentation at the World Bank by Tarek Masoud of Harvard’s Kennedy School, who will discuss why Tunisia has succeeded at democratization while Egypt has failed.

In the photo, a supporter of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro dressed guerrilla leader Che Guevara, waits for the results of the legislative election in Caracas on December 7, 2015.

Photo credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images