S06E06: Sergei Guriev on the Chang­ing Face of Autocracy 

This episode explores the main dif­fer­ences between con­tem­po­rary, qua­si-dic­ta­to­r­i­al regimes based on spin, and old­er 20th-cen­tu­ry dic­ta­tor­ships based on overt repres­sion and fear. Why do spin dic­ta­tors demon­strate a com­mit­ment to demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tions and how do their actions under­mine democ­ra­cy from with­in? Lis­ten to find out what such regimes teach us about inter­nal con­tra­dic­tions of West­ern democ­ra­cies and how sim­i­lar spin dic­ta­tors are to so-called pop­ulist leaders.

Guests fea­tured in this episode:

Sergei Guriev, Provost of Sci­ences Po in Paris. He’s pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics there fol­low­ing an out­stand­ing aca­d­e­m­ic career at the New Eco­nom­ic School in Moscow. He was its Rec­tor until 2013 when he was forced by polit­i­cal cir­cum­stances to leave Rus­sia. Between 2016 and 2019, Sergei served as the chief econ­o­mist of the Euro­pean Bank for Recon­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment. And he has held vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor­ships at MIT, Prince­ton. And in 2006, he was select­ed a Young Glob­al Leader by the World Eco­nom­ic Forum.

His very broad research inter­ests span var­i­ous areas of polit­i­cal eco­nom­ics, devel­op­men­tal eco­nom­ics, labor mobil­i­ty, cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and con­tract the­o­ry. And besides numer­ous aca­d­e­m­ic pub­li­ca­tions, he also writes for “The New York Times,” “Finan­cial Times,” “Wash­ing­ton Post,” and “Project Syn­di­cate.” His lat­est book, “Spin Dic­ta­tors,” writ­ten togeth­er with Daniel Treis­man, is a fas­ci­nat­ing account of the chang­ing char­ac­ter of author­i­tar­i­an politics.


Shalini Randeria

Shalini Randeria is Rector and President of the Central European University (Vienna/Budapest). Before, she was Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute Geneva, and Rector of the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna from 2014 to 2021. She has published widely on the anthropology of globalisation, law, the state and social movements. Her empirical research on India also addresses issues of post-coloniality and multiple modernities.