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.