Graphic Images: Autocrats and the Use of Power
Disrupting Democracy Volume IV
In this fourth and final installment of our Disrupting Democracy series, Graphic Images: Autocrats and the Use of Power will look at how three authoritarian regimes undermine the prospects for democracy and stability in their respective regions. Drawing from the more than 15 years of data from the Bertelsmann (Stiftung) Transformation Index, this publication reimagines country and regional level data into infographics that shine a light on three distinct cases: Russia, Iran and China. In Russia, we examine how President Putin’s assault on democratic institutions at home has strengthened his hand to intervene militarily and through disinformation campaigns in post-Soviet Eurasia. Iran presents us with a case in how a weak government can still leverage limited resources to bolster nationalism and effectively reshape an entire region in the Middle East. And China offers perhaps the most complicated case; a country that has embraced its superpower status by molding the international system according to its own values through economic influence, and offering a counterexample of governance to that of the United States.
The images you’ll find in the pages to follow often present a bleak picture for democracy’s prospects in 2022. We can react with despair or we can treat this book as a clarion call to begin reversing the steep democratic decline we’ve observed over the course of this project. Our hope is that by the time you turn the final page of this volume, the choice will be clear.
Anthony T. Silberfeld
Director, Transatlantic Relations
Tony Silberfeld joined the Bertelsmann Foundation as the Director of Transatlantic Relations in April 2014, overseeing a project portfolio aimed at strengthening the Euro-Atlantic alliance through traditional and innovative means. His research focuses on democratic innovations in cities, and geopolitical competition in space. He currently oversees two online platforms, RANGE and the Transatlantic Periscope, that provide geopolitical forecasting capacity and in-depth analyses of America’s bilateral relationships with its European partners, respectively. Tony has produced long-form publications, policy briefs, graphic books, education guides, digital animations and feature-length documentary films, constantly exploring cutting-edge avenues to connect the Foundation’s work to policymakers and the public.
Tony arrived at the Foundation after seven years with the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he was head of political and public affairs at the British Embassy’s Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, DC. He also served as the Northern Ireland government spokesman in the Americas, and advised government ministers on political developments in the United States, Canada and Brazil. Prior to his tenure with the British government, Tony held posts as a foreign policy advisor in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
Tony has a master’s degree from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University.