2011 Oslo Freedom Forum
May 11, 2011
Comparative political scientist Steven Levitsky examines the phenomenon of competitive authoritarianism—the replacement of totalitarianism with regimes that conform to the external standards of democracy but retain many of the qualities of autocracy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Levitsky explains, many nations could not afford to maintain dictatorships, yet the international community did not closely monitor their transitions to "democracy" and newly formed competitive authoritarian regimes often rose in their place. Levitsky tells us that one way to combat autocracies is to create more ties, rather than isolate, so that the price of competitive authoritarianism becomes too high to sustain.