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Are global autocracies here to stay? The re-election of Hungary’s leader suggests the answer is yes.

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s far-right populist prime minister, was re-elected last week in a landslide victory that pro-democracy advocates fear sends a hair-raising signal to the rest of the world: the rise in autocratic leadership witnessed across the globe in recent decades is not going away. An ally of fellow authoritarian Russian President Vladimir Putin and endorsed by former U.S. President Donald Trump, Orban’s re-election came as no surprise to many, including Northeastern professor Peter Fraunholtz, who teaches history and international affairs with a focus on Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Part of what is to blame for Orban’s consolidation of leadership and the spike in nationalism in Eastern Europe is what Fraunholtz describes as an emphasis by the West on “markets over democracy” in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. As the United States sought to bring free market economic systems to Russia and other countries, it had an unintended effect: rampant inequality and workers being left behind in the global market.

Continue reading at News@Northeastern.

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