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Don’t Touch Your Face

Don’t Touch Your Face: Autocrats

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a vote about the government's bill on the protection against the new coronavirus at the plenary session of the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest on March 30.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a vote about the government's bill on the protection against the new coronavirus at the plenary session of the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest on March 30. ZOLTAN MATHE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

On today’s podcast: How authoritarian leaders are cracking down on the coronavirus—and civil liberties.

On Monday, the Hungarian parliament voted to give Prime Minister Viktor Orban special powers to rule by decree, effectively giving him the right to single-handedly run the country indefinitely. But Orban is not the only leader to use the pandemic to shore up his power. 

On today’s podcast, Don’t Touch Your Face host Amy Mackinnon looks at how some leaders in Eastern Europe and Eurasia are turning to the well-worn pages of the autocrat handbook in their fight against the coronavirus. Mackinnon is joined by Daniel Balson, the advocacy director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International USA. 

Further Reading 

If you’re interested in learning more about Orban’s new expanded powers or what other leaders in the region are up to in the midst of the pandemic, here’s what we’re reading:

Authoritarianism in the Time of the Coronavirus,” Foreign Policy

New Law Gives Sweeping Powers To Hungary’s Orban, Alarming Rights Advocates,” NPR

Azerbaijan’s president suggests coronavirus may require a crackdown on opposition,” Eurasianet

Turkmenistan fights coronavirus with (more) isolation and herbal remedies,” Global Voices

About Don’t Touch Your Face:  On the last day of 2019, China reported an unusual outbreak in Wuhan, a port city with a population of 11 million. Within two months, the disease would spread to almost every continent on the globe and kill thousands of people. From Foreign Policy, a podcast about the extent of the COVID-19 contagion, the threat it poses, and what countries are doing to contain it. Join FP’s James Palmer and Amy Mackinnon as they track the spread of the virus and explore what it means for people’s everyday lives. Have a coronavirus question for us to explore? Email it to donttouchyourface@foreignpolicy.com.  See All Episodes

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