Public event

Are autocrats beating democrats at their own game?

Join us for a frank discussion of why the Western liberal order is challenged by the 2.0 generation of ‘spin’ autocrats.

The end of the US intervention in Afghanistan made many worries that the US would retire altogether from democracy-building abroad. The last decade had seen, however, a generalisation of the practice of intervention in other countries’ political choices, by democrats (US, EU) as well as autocrats (Russia, China, Turkey). Both in globalised markets and on social media, where the influence games are presently played, the war between autocrats and democrats is raging. But unlike the end of the last century, democrats find it increasingly difficult to win. Join us for a frank discussion of why the Western liberal order is challenged by the 2.0 generation of ‘spin’ autocrats and what can be done about it.


  • Larry Diamond is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University as well as Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The world's leading democratization scholar, he has made it his life's work to research and support democracy, and many dissidents fighting autocracy across the globe received his sound advice and staunch support. He co-created the Journal of Democracy and its series of reference books on democracy. Prof. Diamond also had a spell as an advisor to Paul Bremer in Iraq, after starting his career researching democracy in Africa, particularly Nigeria. In his recent work, he advocated for the US to keep its engagement with democracies around the world to resist China’s global power.


  • Sergei Guriev is Professor of Economics and the Scientific Director of Sciences Po's Master's and PhD programmes in economics. In 2016-19, he served as the Chief Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, after being rector of Russia’s leading private university, the New Economic School in Moscow. His research focuses on political economy of autocracy and populism. His forthcoming book is on the new generation of autocrats who thrive in times of open borders and new communication technologies the so called ‘spin dictators’.

Event summary

This talk is part of the ERCASDemocracy Promotion after Afghanistan series.