Dmytro Shevchuk’s review on book: Енн Епплбом “Сутінки демократії. Підступна спокуса авторитаризму”

The book begins with a description of a party that takes place in 1999 and ends with a description of a party in 2019. The twenty years between them changed not only the way entertainment was organized, but also the circle of participants and the beliefs of the people who participated in them. Based on these changes, the American historian and journalist Ann Applebom, known, in particular, for her research on the Holodomor, undertakes to demonstrate the threatening trends in modern democratic countries. In our time, the author is convinced, a transformation is taking place in Western societies, which causes the fact that, given the appropriate conditions, any society can rebel against democracy. Moreover, the logic of history proves that societies will do exactly that, signs of which we can already see today. The author notices a tendency towards authoritarianism among the representatives of the educated and intellectual elite, who help illiberal politicians to start a war against another intellectual elite who demonstrate alternative views. This is how a new generation of clerks is being formed, who operate within governments, participate in power coalitions, manage parties and the media. But first of all, they are making efforts to shape a new political reality that has signs of authoritarianism and the dominance of populism. The people Applebom describes represent different worldviews and sides of the political spectrum. Some of them have a clear nationalist attitude, others, on the contrary, represent cynicism, use radical or authoritarian language. Some of these people proclaim the political apocalypse of their countries and spread the conviction that societies must be reconstructed anew, whatever the consequences. However, they all have one thing in common – they are reimagining their nations, seeking to rewrite social contracts, change the rules of democracy, so as never to lose power.

The review was published on “Krytyka” web site. For more see: