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Autocracy Versus Democracy After the Ukraine Invasion: Mapping a Middle Way

Richard Youngs writes in Carnegie Europe about the changed dynamics between democracies and autocracies, and potential implications for cooperation between states and broader democracy support. The article probes the specific type of democracy-autocracy dynamic that will emerge in the wake of Russia's unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

Youngs clarifies the currently mixed strategic dynamics among pro-democracy actors and states, with the new context pushing Western states and other democracies to take more pragmatic choices. Fortunately, this diverse approach also exists among autocrats, where there is also no united alliance behind support for autocracies. The democracy-autocracy divide is sure to continue to structure international relations for years to come, with democracies currently oriented more towards protecting themselves and less towards protecting the human rights for all citizens globally.

The author contends that more consistent support for democracy, given current geopolitics, will require increased efforts and resources towards supporting democratic norms. Countries should build stronger and more mutually-enhancing linkages between broader geopolitical goals and associated choices in democracy-support, which has thus far been quite fragmented.

Read the full piece here in Carnegie Europe, published as a part of the European Democracy Hub initiative run by Carnegie Europe and the European Partnership for Democracy.