State of the Art

Claims had been raised that most scholars of the transition research had been normative-driven insofar as they had predominantly focused on a transition to democracy but not vice versa. As a result, a public discourse of the “transition paradigm” emerged that critically engaged with the alleged ‘democracy bias’ or ‘democratization euphoria’ in the academic world after 1989. Subsequently, huge amount of studies occurred in the last two decades that gave prominence to the study of the resilience, resurgence and spreading of authoritarian regimes in different parts of the globe. However, the growing interest gave rise to an agglomeration of diminished subtypes of autocracy that resulted also in a proliferation and confusion of what defines authoritarian elements in the present scholarly debate. Moreover, the mainstream literature gave special attention almost exclusively to the explanation of domestic factors and/or concentrated predominantly on countries like Russia and China. In fact, the international dimension of authoritarianism – and especially the regional sphere – as an important lever for autocratic consolidation is rather new and under-researched.