Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, February 17, 2015

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, February 17, 2015

To keep up with Democracy Lab in real time, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Robert Orttung and Christopher Walker remind us that Ukraine is not the only place where Russia has stirred up trouble to sabotage democratic reforms.

Min Zin reports on the remarkable rebirth of Burma’s student protest movement.

Juan Nagel asks whether Venezuela’s opposition can get its act together enough to capitalize on its growing popularity.

Moved by Jordan’s collective mourning of its murdered pilot, Mohamed El Dahshan laments Egypt’s lack of compassion for its own victims.

Rushda Majeed highlights the challenge posed to Indonesia’s new president by his own political allies.

Linda Kinstler paints a somber portrait of a war-weary Kiev.

And Christian Caryl explains why Vladimir Putin is the man other autocrats love to emulate.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

Michael Weiss, writing for FP, tells the incredible story of an Azerbaijani press freedom advocate who, in pursuit by the regime, turned to the U.S. embassy for help – and was refused. Meanwhile, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty covers the latest criminal charges leveled against the country’s best-known journalist.

OpenDemocracy’s Bertha María Carrillo warns against growing authoritarian trends in several Latin American governments.

Natan Sharansky and David Keyes explain in The Washington Post why world affairs should be left to the dissidents rather than the diplomats.

Kelly Vorndran of the National Bureau for Asian Research reports on the likely path forward for Sri Lanka after the opposition’s upset victory in the country’s latest election.

Marcy Hersh of Refugees International scrutinizes the failure of the international community’s vows to protect Congolese women from violence.

Writing for Foreign Affairs, Claire Sadar analyzes Turkish President Erdogan’s drift toward Russian-style autocracy. Also in FA, Alexander Motyl makes the case for supplying arms to Ukraine.

At his own blog Dart-Throwing Chimp, Jay Ulfelder takes a fresh look at the relationship between democracy and demography.

Mong Palatino of Global Voices Online introduces an infographic that charts the crackdown on free speech by Thailand’s military junta.

(The photo above shows two women posing with their Valentine’s Day purchases from a Lagos supermarket. The last-minute postponement of Nigeria’s general election this year saved the holiday, which might have otherwise been sharply curtailed by movement restrictions ahead of the vote.)