For dictators like Vladimirputin, ruthless oppression is often a victorious way to maintain power.
Russian police officers beat those protesting the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on January 23, 2021. Mikhail Svetrov / Getty Images) Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who became ill with a cough and fever, was moved to a ward in a remote penal colony where he was imprisoned. Navalny landed in prison after legal issues that began in 2019 when he was arrested for “leading an unauthorized protest.” In 2020, during the parole of the crime, Navalny was poisoned in an apparent assassination attempt associated with Russian leader Vladimirputin. In a crisis, Navalny was sent to Germany for emergency treatment. In February 2021, a Russian court stated that the trip to Germany was a violation of parole and sentenced Navalny to three years in prison. The ruling infuriated the Russians and urged thousands of people to protest. National demonstrations have integrated heterogeneous opposition groups into one movement that challenges President Vladimirputin’s 20-year rule. Now, Navalny’s current health is once again inspiring protesters. If persecution of Navalny activates opposition to Putin, is it a failure by Russian leaders? As an international legal scholar and professor of human rights, I have found that powerful tactics by dictatorial leaders can ultimately provoke a reaction that overthrows their regime. However, repressive tactics such as detention, torture, and prosecution often help dictators maintain power. Many historic democratization leaders have been arrested or imprisoned, including political prisoner Mahatma Gandhi of India, Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, and Martin Luther King Jr. of the United States. In these cases, political crackdowns mobilized rather than destroyed their movement. Political prisoners in particular can turn into international celebrities who bring people around their cause. South Africa is a symbolic example. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and became the face of the anti-apartheid movement, which evolved from the roots of South African resistance to the largest international campaign for regime change in history. Anti-apartheid groups around the world have united to use disciplinary economic tactics such as boycotts of South African products to pressure the government to impose sanctions. Eventually, South African leaders responded to international demands and released Mandela in 1990. Mandela was elected president, ending the world’s most racially oppressive system. Mandela was inaugurated in 1994, South Africa’s first democratically elected president. The dictator of the example of Louise Gab / Corbis Saba / Corbis 21st century Belarus by Getty Images is different from the dictator of the past. Today, most people claim legitimacy through fraudulent elections. As a result, voting in authoritarian countries is often accompanied by repression. Last August, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, faced an unprecedented election challenge. He imprisoned opposition leaders and banned rival candidates. Elections were held and Lukashenko insisted on an overwhelming victory. However, the only remaining opponent in the presidential election, Svyatlanatihanovskaya, was so popular that neither she nor the Belarusian people bought his victory. Extensive protests broke out demanding the expulsion of Lukashenko. Putin’s ally, Lukashenko, has cracked down again, including brutal police violence. Tihanovskaya went into exile. Far from quelling Belarus’ popular anger, recent studies show that the violent crackdown on protests by the administration has mobilized many. Protesters will update the demo soon. Feminists protest dozens of women imprisoned for demonstrations after the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk on August 9, 2020. Atlinger / AFP via Getty Images Still, Lukashenko remains in power. This is primarily because many of the US elite and major agencies, such as security services and courts, remain loyal to him. The most successful dictators do more than just use oppression to get in office. They also maintain control through spoils and corruption that help those who protect their power. International condemnation Putin is a master of both oppression and corrupt bargains-so notorious for both, the United States has created a new way to punish such behavior. A few years after Sergei Magnitsky, a corruption whistleblower, died in a Russian prison in 2009, the United States adopted the Magnitsky Act. In human rights violations or corruption. Canada, Great Britain and the European Union later passed similar laws. These laws allow countries to punish not only oppressive leaders, but any groups or businesses that support their administration with asset freezes and travel bans. However, they have not yet been used against Putin. In addition to targeted domestic sanctions, democracies have other ways to blame states for violating international law. This includes breaking diplomatic relations and mandating global surveillance by international organizations such as the United Nations. Such a response has had limited success in forcing dictatorship leaders to respect democracy and human rights. Take Venezuela as an example. There, President Nicolas Maduro came to power in 2013, and in 2015 a large-scale protest against his government began. In a series of abominable reports, the United Nations considers the Maduro administration’s killing and imprisonment of protesters to be “crimes against humanity.” Many countries have imposed increasingly stringent sanctions on Venezuela over the years. Finally, in 2019, Maduro released 22 political prisoners and pardoned another 110. But in December, Venezuela held an election, which also failed to meet democratic standards. Maduro’s party, of course, won. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro will speak at the Military Parade in Caracas on April 13, 2019. LokmanIlhan / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images The evolving stadium mass protest campaign has the potential to succeed, successfully expelling dictator leaders, as recently seen in Ukraine. There, it protested in 2004 and again in 2014 turned the country from Russia to democracy. Historically, the success of the opposition movement requires at least 3.5% of the city’s middle class and industrial workers to engage in collaborative, non-violent tactics such as general strikes and boycotts. There is. It may not seem like a lot of people, but in Russia’s population-sized country, this requires more than 5 million people to participate in organized resistance. In such situations, sanctions and global scrutiny can add real weight to the uprising of democracy. However, experts are worried that the tools of the international community are inadequate given the challenges that authoritarianism presents around the world. Today, 54% of the world’s population lives in dictatorships such as Russia, Belarus and Venezuela. This is the highest percentage in 20 years. It may not be a coincidence, but democratization movements are also increasing. Forty-four percent of the country saw a major anti-democracy movement in 2019, up from 27 percent in 2014. As the battle between dictatorship and democracy unfolds in Russia, Belarus, and beyond, the world’s historic defenders of democracy, especially the United States and the European Union – face their own democratic struggle. There is. This is good news for Putin, causing concerns for democratic advocates like Navalny. This article has been republished by The Conversation, a non-profit news site aimed at sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by Shelley Inglis at the University of Dayton. Read more: Alexei Navalny returns to Russia and brings anti-Putin politics Alexei Navalny revolutionized Russia’s opposition politics when Sherry Inglis worked and consulted for profitable businesses and organizations , Before owning shares or receiving funds. It does not disclose relevant affiliations from this article, and beyond their academic appointments.