dictators

People with Chilean flags take part in a rally ahead of Sunday's referendum, in Santiago, on Oct. 22. Chileans will be asked two questions: if they want a new constitution and who should draft it.

A Year After Protests Began, Chile’s Constitutional Referendum Goes Ahead

On Sunday, after months of protests, voters can choose to keep or begin a process of replacing the current constitution.

President of Belarus Alexandr Lukashenko wipes his face as he gives a speech during a rally of his supporters in Independence Square in Minsk on Aug. 16.

Lukashenko’s Fall Is Happening Hard and Fast

The Belarusian dictator bet everything on force. Now he's becoming a dangerous joke.

Demonstrators gather on 16th Street across from Lafayette Park while protesting peacefully against police brutality and racism on June 6 in Washington, DC.

Why Protests Threaten Dictatorships but Make Democracies Stronger

Democracies have greater legitimacy because citizens largely support the system and its institutions. Dictatorships rely on performance—and they fail when they don’t produce results.

Police officers stand guard outside the headquarters of Russia's Federal Security Services (FSB) in central Moscow on July 7, 2020.

Putin’s Security Forces Are Increasingly Unsure About Putin

Anti-government protests are growing, and the Kremlin doesn’t have stormtroopers willing to mount a crackdown.

An Al-Jazeera channel's journalist stands inside the defendants cage with his colleagues during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo's Tora prison on March 22, 2014.

Arab Dictators Are Learning to Love Collective Punishment

Middle Eastern regimes increasingly aren’t just targeting dissidents—they’re going after their entire families.

Coal heavers wear sandwich boards to protest against low wages in 1921.

When Everything Is a Crisis, Nothing Is

Invoking crisis is a favorite tactic of dictators—and widespread misuse of the word robs it of its power. 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma arrive at the Elysee palace on July 14, 2008 in Paris.

The War Has Arrived Inside the Assad Family


Syria’s dictator crushed an uprising—but the ground may be crumbling beneath his feet.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Autocrats Are Finding Democratic Facades Hard to Keep Up

The pandemic is making dictatorship clearer as faking credible elections gets harder.

Canan Kaftancioglu

A Motorcycle-Riding Leftist Feminist Is Coming for Erdogan

Canan Kaftancioglu has fueled the rise of Turkey’s increasingly effective opposition—and earned the president’s ire.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

5 Things to Know If Kim Jong Un Dies

Hereditary dictatorships rarely last past three generations, and collapse may be in the cards for North Korea.

U.S. President Donald Trump

The United States Is Getting Infected With Dictatorship

The coronavirus pandemic has provided an opening for Donald Trump to attack transparency, voting rights, and accountability.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Sisi and Erdogan Are Accomplices of the Coronavirus

By killing the Middle East’s sense of community, the region’s dictators have helped the pandemic on its death march.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Putin Wants the World to Keep Guessing

The Russian president’s goal isn’t necessarily to be president for life. Unless it is.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during the "We The People" Summit at the Warner Theater in Washington on April 1, 2019.

Grow Up About Dictators, America!

The Democrats’ presidential primary has exposed the pathological moral obsessions of U.S. foreign policy.

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during an event to unveil changes to the National Environmental Policy Act at the White House in Washington on Jan. 9.

Trump Is Failing His Dictatorship Test

After impeachment, the president has been passing most of the checkpoints on the way to authoritarianism.

Robert Mugabe gives a speech in Harare, Zimbabwe, in March 1980.

Mugabe’s Promise

A transcript of the late leader’s address to the nation on March 4, 1980.

Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, Imam Talib Shareef, and Rev. Traci Blackmon speak at a rally at the White House on June 30, 2018.

To Protect Human Rights Abroad, Preach to Trump Voters

Religious leaders can help convince the most ethnocentric and authoritarian U.S. voters to oppose Washington’s backing of abusive dictators.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov presents a Alabai shepherd dog to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during a meeting in Sochi, Russia, on Oct. 11, 2017.

Weekend at Berdi’s

The president of Turkmenistan is probably alive. But as with so much else in the country, it’s hard to tell.

A Saudi fan holds a scarf with portraits of King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during a friendly football match between Saudi Arabia and Iraq for the "Superclassico" championship at King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on Oct. 15, 2018.

Mohammed bin Salman’s Fake Anti-Extremist Campaign

The Saudi crown prince vowed to crack down on radical clerics—but the victims have mostly been advocates for moderate Islam.

Donald Trump speaks at the NRA-ILA's Leadership Forum at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 28, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Loving Dictators Is as American as Apple Pie

Trump has embraced yet another strongman, this time in Libya. But it’s not just a personal failing—it’s a national tradition.