Authoritarian leaders are constantly searching for scapegoats, working to rile up the fears of their populace, and trying to tighten their grips. To them, the coronavirus pandemic is a bonanza—the liberal democracies that would typically call them out for their violence and repression are distracted with the necessities of stopping the virus in their home countries.

If these strongmen go unchecked, the COVID crisis may end with all of us emerging to find a world in which authoritarianism triumphs.

Melinda Haring and Doug Klain

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Melinda Haring

Deputy Director, Eurasia Center

Eurasia Center

The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting stability, democratic values and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the West to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the East.