Thursday, July 31, 2014

The rise of Putinism

By Fareed Zakaria — July 31 at 8:31 PM, WashPost

When the Cold War ended, Hungary occupied a special place in the story of the revolutions of 1989. It was the first country in the Soviet orbit to abandon communism and embrace liberal democracy. Today it is again a trendsetter, becoming the first European country to denounce and distance itself from liberal democracy. It is adopting a new system and set of values that are best exemplified by Vladimir Putin’s Russia but are finding echoes in other countries as well.

In a major speech last weekend, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban explained that his country is determined to build a new political model — illiberal democracy. This caught my eye because in 1997, I wrote an essay in Foreign Affairs using that same phrase to describe a dangerous trend.

Democratic governments, often popular, were using their mandates to erode individual rights, the separation of powers and the rule of law. But even I never imagined that a national leader — from Europe no less — would use the term as a badge of honor.

(More here.)

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