Are Authoritarians Winning? with Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Rebekah Koffler, Steven Levitsky and David Corn


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A panel of experts discusses similarities and differences between anti-democratic developments in Russia and the U.S.

There is a lot to be said about authoritarians right now. Most notably, president of Russia Vladimir Putin has been waging a war in Ukraine that is upending the global order while suppressing dissent at home.

Even before his attempted conquest of Kyiv, though, Putin’s authoritarian rap sheet was plenty long, replete with intercontinental election meddling and persecution of his political opponents. And the Russian leader is only one of a crop of authoritarians throughout the world.

And then there is the creeping authoritarianism in the United States, most visible in an anti-democratic insurrection by supporters of now-former President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021.

For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, journalist David Corn explores these threads with an expert panel including U.S. intelligence expert Rebekah Koffler, professor of history Ruth Ben-Ghiat and professor of government Steven Levitsky, all of whom have written recent books that, in one way or another, track the rise of strongmen and their threats to democracy.



Host: Mark Baumgarten

Producer: Sara Bernard

Event producers: Jake Newman, Andrea O'Meara

Engineers: Resti Bagcal, Viktoria Ralph

143 episodes