Spin dictators

Sep
20
06:00 PM - 07:00 PM

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Invitation

We are delighted to invite you to an insightful event with writer and economics professor Sergei Guriev, an expert on Russia who will share his thoughts on a new breed of dictators. Sergei Guriev was rector of the prestigious New Economic School in Moscow from 2004 to 2013 before he fled to Paris after politically motivated interrogations. He will address pressing questions about the ongoing war in Ukraine – a war that has not only brought material devastation and human tragedy to Ukrainians but has also come at huge economic cost. Why did Putin start this war? Doesn’t the economy matter to him? What is the role of lies and fear in Putin’s strategy?

We look forward to welcoming you at the University of Zurich and to exchange thoughts and ideas on this important topic with you. This is a free public event.

Please note: Your ticket does not guarantee a seat in the auditorium. Access will be granted to registered guests on a first-come, first-served basis. Further broadcast rooms will be available on-site and a livestream on our website.

We are delighted to invite you to an insightful event with writer and economics professor Sergei Guriev, an expert on Russia who will share his thoughts on a new breed of dictators. Sergei Guriev was rector of the prestigious New Economic School in Moscow from 2004 to 2013 before he fled to Paris after politically motivated interrogations. He will address pressing questions about the ongoing war in Ukraine – a war that has not only brought material devastation and human tragedy to Ukrainians but has also come at huge economic cost. Why did Putin start this war? Doesn’t the economy matter to him? What is the role of lies and fear in Putin’s strategy?

We look forward to welcoming you at the University of Zurich and to exchange thoughts and ideas on this important topic with you. This is a free public event.

Sergei Guriev is Professor of Economics and Provost at Sciences Po; © Joel Saget/ France-Russia-Economy-Politics-Portrait via Getty Images
Sergei Guriev is Professor of Economics and Provost at Sciences Po; © Joel Saget/ France-Russia-Economy-Politics-Portrait via Getty Images

Program

18.00 Introduction
Kaspar Villiger (UBS Foundation, University of Zurich)
Spin dicators
Professor Sergei Guriev (Sciences Po)
19.00 End of event
18.00 Introduction
Kaspar Villiger (UBS Foundation, University of Zurich)
Spin dicators
Professor Sergei Guriev (Sciences Po)
19.00 End of event

Russia and the changing face of tyranny

Hitler, Stalin, and Mao ruled through violence, fear, and ideology. But in recent decades a new breed of media-savvy strongmen has been redesigning authoritarian rule for a more sophisticated, globally connected world. In place of overt, mass repression, rulers such as Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Viktor Orbán control their citizens by distorting information and simulating democratic procedures. Like spin doctors in democracies, they spin the news to engineer support. Uncovering this new brand of authoritarianism, Sergei Guriev and co-author Daniel Treisman explain the rise of such “spin dictators” in their latest book, describing how they emerge and operate, the new threats they pose, and how democracies should respond.

Where does Putin rank in this taxonomy? For Guriev, one thing is clear: Putin has miscalculated the war in Ukraine. His narrative has become increasingly hard to spin, and that is why he has changed his strategy: “Putin’s regime has completed its reversion from a 21st century spin dictatorship to a 20th century dictatorship based on fear.”

Hitler, Stalin, and Mao ruled through violence, fear, and ideology. But in recent decades a new breed of media-savvy strongmen has been redesigning authoritarian rule for a more sophisticated, globally connected world. In place of overt, mass repression, rulers such as Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Viktor Orbán control their citizens by distorting information and simulating democratic procedures. Like spin doctors in democracies, they spin the news to engineer support. Uncovering this new brand of authoritarianism, Sergei Guriev and co-author Daniel Treisman explain the rise of such “spin dictators” in their latest book, describing how they emerge and operate, the new threats they pose, and how democracies should respond.

Where does Putin rank in this taxonomy? For Guriev, one thing is clear: Putin has miscalculated the war in Ukraine. His narrative has become increasingly hard to spin, and that is why he has changed his strategy: “Putin’s regime has completed its reversion from a 21st century spin dictatorship to a 20th century dictatorship based on fear.”

Sergei Guriev, co-author of the book "Spin dictators" with Daniel Treisman; Source: Twitter
Sergei Guriev, co-author of the book "Spin dictators" with Daniel Treisman; Source: Twitter
  • «Spin-Diktatoren lieben die Probleme des Westens» Interview mit Sergei Guriev Tagesanzeiger vom 12.6.2022 lesen

Speakers

Sergei Guriev is Professor of Economics and Provost at Sciences Po
Prof. Sergei Guriev

Sergei Guriev is Professor of Economics and (since 2022) Provost at Sciences Po, Paris, which he joined in 2013 after serving as Rector of the New Economic School in Moscow from 2004 to 2014. He is also a former Director of Graduate Programs in Economics at Sciences Po. Guriev was on leave from Sciences Po serving as the Chief Economist and the Member of the Executive Committee of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) from 2016 to 2019. Professor Guriev’s research interests include political economics, labor mobility, corporate governance, and contract theory. He has published extensively in leading international journals. He has been a board member of several Russian banks and companies as well as a member of various international scientific councils and committees. Since 2011, he has been a member of the World Economic Forum’s multiple Global Agenda Councils and Global Future Councils. He is also a Research Fellow and the Leader of the Research and Policy Network on Populism at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, London.

Chairman of the Foundation Board of the UBS Center for Economics in Society, former Swiss Finance Minister and President of Switzerland
Dr. h.c. Kaspar Villiger

Kaspar Villiger is a Swiss businessman, politician and former member of the Swiss Federal Council (1989 – 2003), serving first as Minister of Defence and then as Minister of Finance. He was President of the Confederation twice, in 1995 and again in 2002. On April 15, 2009, he was elected Chairman of the Board of UBS, holding this post until May 3, 2012. Villiger is a member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an organization which works to promote good governance around the world. In 2012 he became Chairman of the new UBS Foundation of Economics in Society.

Sergei Guriev is Professor of Economics and Provost at Sciences Po
Prof. Sergei Guriev

Sergei Guriev is Professor of Economics and (since 2022) Provost at Sciences Po, Paris, which he joined in 2013 after serving as Rector of the New Economic School in Moscow from 2004 to 2014. He is also a former Director of Graduate Programs in Economics at Sciences Po. Guriev was on leave from Sciences Po serving as the Chief Economist and the Member of the Executive Committee of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) from 2016 to 2019. Professor Guriev’s research interests include political economics, labor mobility, corporate governance, and contract theory. He has published extensively in leading international journals. He has been a board member of several Russian banks and companies as well as a member of various international scientific councils and committees. Since 2011, he has been a member of the World Economic Forum’s multiple Global Agenda Councils and Global Future Councils. He is also a Research Fellow and the Leader of the Research and Policy Network on Populism at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, London.

Chairman of the Foundation Board of the UBS Center for Economics in Society, former Swiss Finance Minister and President of Switzerland
Dr. h.c. Kaspar Villiger

Kaspar Villiger is a Swiss businessman, politician and former member of the Swiss Federal Council (1989 – 2003), serving first as Minister of Defence and then as Minister of Finance. He was President of the Confederation twice, in 1995 and again in 2002. On April 15, 2009, he was elected Chairman of the Board of UBS, holding this post until May 3, 2012. Villiger is a member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an organization which works to promote good governance around the world. In 2012 he became Chairman of the new UBS Foundation of Economics in Society.

Venue

University of Zurich

Main Auditorium, KOL-G-201, Rämistrasse 71, 8006 Zurich
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Livestream