The Democracy Report
The Atlantic's coverage of social and political change in North Africa, in the Middle East, and around the world

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Introduction

A wave of democratization reshaped the world not so long ago. Could it happen again now?

Danger: Falling Tyrants

As dictatorships crumble across the Middle East, how do we promote American values while protecting American interests?

Arab Spring, Chinese Winter

Just after the streets of Tunisia and Egypt erupted, China saw a series of “Jasmine” protests — until the government stopped them cold. Was the regime’s defensive reaction just paranoia? Or is the Chinese public less satisfied — and more combustible — than it appears?

From The Archives

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Islam

Can democracy take root in a predominantly Islamic part of the world? How Atlantic writers thought about the question throughout the 20th century.

Islam and Liberal Democracy

A renowned scholar of Near Eastern studies, took on the question of Islam's suitability for democratic rule

Was Democracy Just a Moment?

The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world—or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.

What Kind of Democracy?

At a time when countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere were demanding the right to self-determination, Raymond D. Gastil assessed the extent to which civil liberties within a democracy require protection within a democracy

China Emergent

In the midst of World War II, the wife of China's Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, decried the exploitation of China by the West and delineated a vision for a more democratic future

A Plea for the Recognition of the Chinese Republic

This Chinese author proudly declared "we have transformed our immense country from an empire of four thousand years' standing into a modern democracy" asking that the United States lend its support to the fledgling government through official recognition

Edwin Lee/Flickr

Chinese Democracy: Will It Ever Be More Than a Guns n' Roses Album?

Minxin Pei, Eric Li, and James Fallows debate the legitimacy and resilience of the People's Repbublic

Ukraine's Unrest Is Being Broadcast Live

Ukraine's Unrest Is Being Broadcast Live

The country has suffered its worst day of violence in the three-month-old uprising.

Why Does Ukraine's Opposition Keep Getting Splashed With Green Liquid?

Why Does Ukraine's Opposition Keep Getting Splashed With Green Liquid?

Assailants wielding Soviet-era topical antiseptic are targeting the government's opponents.

Ukraine's Forever Revolution Marko Djurica/Reuters

Ukraine's Forever Revolution

Why the country's political crisis will persist, even if the protesters win.

The Syrian Opposition Is Disappearing From Facebook Hamid Khatib/Reuters

The Syrian Opposition Is Disappearing From Facebook

Social media was one of the first refuges for Syria’s non-violent activists. Now they’re getting kicked off.

The Wanted Man Behind Ukraine's Protests-on-Wheels Reuters/Gleb Garanich

The Wanted Man Behind Ukraine's Protests-on-Wheels

Dmytro Bulatov vanished at the height of the Euromaidan uprising. He's now resurfaced—bruised, battered, and telling a harrowing tale.

The Hand-Drawn Faces of Ukraine's Uprising Oleksandr Kom'yakhov/RFE

The Hand-Drawn Faces of Ukraine's Uprising

An artist sketches the ordinary people behind the Euromaidan protests.

Report: Global Freedom Has Been Declining for Nearly a Decade Reuters

Report: Global Freedom Has Been Declining for Nearly a Decade

A third of the world's population lives in countries without political rights and civil liberties, according to a new study.

The Syrian Shadow Government the World Forgot Saad Abobrahim/Reuters

The Syrian Shadow Government the World Forgot

In 2011, an upstart group in Damascus began charting a pluralistic future for the country. Now the organization is a shell of its former self.

We Hacked North Korea With Balloons and USB Drives Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

We Hacked North Korea With Balloons and USB Drives

An airborne challenge to Kim Jong Un’s information monopoly

The U.S. Is Giving Up on Middle East Democracy—and That's a Mistake Reuters

The U.S. Is Giving Up on Middle East Democracy—and That's a Mistake

In prioritizing security over democracy promotion, the Obama administration is failing to address the root causes of extremism in the region.

Is Egypt About to Explode—Again? Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Is Egypt About to Explode—Again?

The intense volatility of the country's political and security conflicts

The Political Education of a Techie Dissident Reuters

The Political Education of a Techie Dissident

Imprisoned activist Ahmed Maher is now measuring Egypt's transition to democracy in decades, not months or even years. 

What Europe Means to Ukraine's Protesters Reuters

What Europe Means to Ukraine's Protesters

Ask people why they're camped out in Kiev's streets, and you'll get a multitude of answers. Will that doom the protest movement? 

How Russian TV Is Covering Ukraine's Protests Reuters

How Russian TV Is Covering Ukraine's Protests

If you believe state media, the protesters in Kiev are depraved, Christmas-hating rabble-rousers driven to the streets by bad weather.

The Remarkable History Behind Ukraine's Toppled Lenin Statue REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The Remarkable History Behind Ukraine's Toppled Lenin Statue

In the largest demonstrations since the country's Orange Revolution, protesters tore down the symbol of Soviet influence.

Ukraine's Threat to Putin Reuters

Ukraine's Threat to Putin

Why the protests in Kiev could deal a major blow to official corruption in Russia

Biden's Important Message for Human Rights in China Reuters

Biden's Important Message for Human Rights in China

Though perhaps impolite to his Chinese hosts, the vice president's calls for transparency and accountability were necessary and politically valuable. 

'Who, If Not Me?' Why One Ukrainian Activist Is Protesting Kateryna Kruk/Twitter

'Who, If Not Me?' Why One Ukrainian Activist Is Protesting

"We stand days and nights on frost not to be part of Europe, but TO BE," Kateryna Kruk says.

Sandwiches and Sleeping Bags: Inside Ukraine's Opposition HQ Reuters

Sandwiches and Sleeping Bags: Inside Ukraine's Opposition HQ

Protesters have seized whole streets of the capital, recruiting their own doctors and security guards.

Joseph Biden to the Chinese: Stand Up to Your Government Reuters

Joseph Biden to the Chinese: Stand Up to Your Government

The vice president's jocular style and unpretentious manner have made him a popular figure in China. But were his comments wise? 

Meet the Brains Behind Ukraine's Massive Protests Reuters

Meet the Brains Behind Ukraine's Massive Protests

Organizers include an anarchist, an ex-TV host, and a former boxing champion.

The Biggest Story in Photos

Battling for Control of Eastern Ukraine

Why We Tend to Show Our Left Side in Pictures
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