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Bookshelf: Photo: “Library“, by Stewart Butterfield licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Zemánek, L., 2023. The Rise of Liberal Authoritarianism and Global Transition to Polycentrism. Russia in Global Affairs, 21(3), pp. 84–102. DOI: 10.31278/1810-6374-2023-21-3-84-102


The article deals with the transformation of the Western liberal democratic model and international relations amid Cold War II. Sources of liberal authoritarianism are identified, and the West’s ongoing authoritarian turn is conceptualized in terms of postliberalism. The latter is scrutinized through the political West’s efforts to protect liberal democracy and its values, and to establish global Gemeinschaft of liberal democracies through containment, deterrence, and encirclement. This process is seen as being interconnected with the intensifying conflict between liberal and sovereign internationalism over the international system. Whereas the political West asserts the rules-based order, the internally heterogeneous Global Majority seeks to establish a polycentric model based on the centrality of the UN Charter and the principles of peaceful coexistence. Hegemonism is compared with the Global Majority’s emancipatory aspirations that have led to the large-scale confrontation with the political West since 2022.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.