Over the past decade, illiberal powers have become emboldened and gained influence within the global arena. Countries such as China, Russia, and Venezuela have developed new strategies to contain the spread of democracy.

Meanwhile, the West has retreated. Assertive undemocratic regimes are working together to repress civil society, while tightening their grip on cyberspace and expanding their reach in international media. These political changes have fostered the emergence of new counter-norms that threaten to further erode the global standing of liberal democracy.

These complicated trends are examined in Authoritarianism Goes Global: The Challenge to Democracy, edited by Larry Diamond, Marc F. Plattner, and Christopher Walker.


  • Marc F. Plattner, Founding Editor, Journal of Democracy
  • Lilia Shevtsova, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Anne Applebaum, Director of the Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute


  • Christopher Walker, Vice President, Studies and Analysis, National Endowment for Democracy
An event summary will be available shortly.

About the Speakers

Marc F. Plattner is Founding Co-Editor of the Journal of Democracy and Co-Chair of the Research Council of the International Forum for Democratic Studies. Until 2016, when he reduced his schedule to part-time, he also served as the National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) Vice President for Research and Studies. From 1984 to 1989, he was NED’s Director of Program. Over the past two decades, he has co-edited with Larry Diamond more than two dozen books on contemporary issues relating to democracy in the Journal of Democracy book series, including Democracy in Decline? (2015) and Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World (2014). He is the author of Democracy without Borders: Challenges to Liberal Democracy (2008) and Rousseau’s State of Nature (1979).

Lilia Shevtsovais a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and an Associate Fellow at the Chatham House. Shevstova is a member of the editorial board for the American Interest, Pro et Contra, Demokratizatsiya, and the Journal of Democracy. She is also a Senior Research Associate at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Economics and a member of the board for the Institute for Human Sciences at Boston University, the Women in International Security international association, the Liberal Mission Foundation, and the New Eurasia Foundation. She is the author and editor of 15 books, including Interregnum: Russia Between Past and Future (2014); Crisis: Russia and the West in the Time of Troubles (2013).

Anne Applebaum leads the Legatum Institute’s Transitions Forum. She is also a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate, and the author of several books, including Gulag: A History, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction as well as other awards. Her most recent book, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1946, won the 2013 Cundill Prize for Historical Literature and was nominated for a national book award in the US. Since 1989, her journalism has frequently focused on the politics of transition in Russia, central Europe and other former communist states, but she has also written extensively about British, American and European politics and international relations. She is a former member of the Washington Post editorial board, a former Deputy Editor of The Spectator, a former political editor of the Evening Standard and a former Warsaw correspondent of The Economist. Her work also appears regularly in the New York Review of BooksForeign Policy, the New Republic, the Daily Telegraph and many other UK and US publications. She is married to Radek Sikorski, the former Foreign Minister of Poland.

Christopher Walker is Vice President for Studies and Analysis at the National Endowment for Democracy. In this capacity, he oversees the department that is responsible for NED’s multi-faceted analytical work, which includes the International Forum for Democratic Studies, a leading centre for the analysis and discussion of democratic development. Prior to joining the NED, Walker was Vice President for Strategy and Analysis at Freedom House. Previously, he served as a Senior Associate at the EastWest Institute, and programme manager at the European Journalism Network.

The Transitions Forum is a series of projects dedicated to the challenges and possibilities of radical political and economic change.