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The Best of Friends?

It's not only democratic states that work together and learn from each other; indeed, authoritarian states do this as well. The current issue of the European Journal of Political Research analyses the strategies of such states.

How do authoritarian states manage to impede democracy? To what extent do Russia, China, and the Gulf monarchies work together with other dictatorships, and how do their collaborative approaches differ? In the November issue of the European Journal of Political Research, one of the world’s leading political science journals, scholars from international research institutes present their latest findings.

In "Democracy prevention: The international collaboration of authoritarian regimes," Dr. Christian von Soest, head of the GIGA’s Research Programme "Violence and Security," investigates aspects of authoritarian cooperation. A given regime might adopt various strategies of collaboration depending on whether the state is experiencing a crisis. Ideological reasons and motives related to self-interest can also affect the shape such cooperation takes.

It was observed during the Arab Spring that the Gulf monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia, supported authoritarian rulers in some cases, but the opposition in others. In "The limits of authoritarian solidarity: The Gulf monarchies and preserving authoritarian rule during the Arab Spring," Daniel Odinius and Philipp Kuntz delve into the logic behind these decisions.

Concerns have grown in recent years that authoritarian regional powers such as China, Russia, and Venezuela might represent a threat to democracy in their neighbouring states. Are these powers, through their foreign policies, able to purposefully push other states towards autocracy? In "The limits of autocracy promotion: The case of Russia in the 'near abroad,'" Lucan A. Way interrogates exactly that question in the Russian context.

The other articles delve into China's economic collaborations and Russia’s influence on the authoritarian powers that be in post-Soviet states.

The European Journal of Political Research is the leading journal of the political science network known as the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and comes from a theoretical and comparative perspective on international politics. The special segment on authoritarian collaboration was co-edited by Dr. Christian von Soest (GIGA) and Professor Laurence Whitehead (University of Oxford).

The complete issue can be ordered here.

The international diffusion of and collaboration between authoritarian regimes is also the main topic of research of the GIGA-coordinated IDCAR network.

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