Bottom left: Vladimir Putin, Russia; top left: Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus; center: Hun Sen, Cambodia; top right: Xi Jinping, China; bottom right: Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, Egypt. (Illustration by Mark Harris for The Washington Post; photos by Getty Images)

If Dictators can learn from one another, so can the Oppositions learn from each other to resist: Opposition International

The Editorial Board of the Washington Post has kicked off a new series of editorials about the rise of the autocrats. Opposition International will reprint and distribute them.

We, at Opposition International, are committed to sharing the intellectual property as to how the Opposition can support the legislative institutions of accountability and the democratic means of change.

On July 20, Mr. Putin signed legislation — rushed through parliament in just two weeks — to give the government a strong hand over nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which he suspected were behind the protests. He had long been apprehensive about independent activism, especially by groups that were financed from abroad. Under the new law, any group that received money from overseas and engaged in “political activity” was required to register as a “foreign agent” with the Justice Ministry or face heavy fines.

Soon, similar laws began to crop up around the world. In the following years, at least 60 nations passed or drafted laws designed to restrict NGOs, and 96 carried out other policies curtailing them, imposing cumbersome registration requirements, intrusive monitoring, harassment and shutdowns. The wave of repressive measures offers a revealing look at the titanic struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. In the past decade, dictators have forged transnational bonds, sharing methods, copying tactics and learning from one another. They are finding new ways to quash free speech and independent journalism, eradicate NGOs, silence dissent and suffocate criticism.