Regime politics for beginners

Illegitimate dictatorships, once they have seized power, have historically incarcerated or assassinated the last legitimate ruler of the nation, to prevent legitimacy from nearing the levers of power again.  It is usually done under dubious circumstances ("trumped up charges," if you will permit the pun).

It can come with a performative posturing, and it is normally associated with a blitz of preference falsification from the regime's propaganda apparatus, both of which are efforts to manufacture public consent for the activity, both internally and abroad.  This was common in both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

Dictators are therefore intolerant of public support for the ousted ruler, branding legitimate protest or criticism of transparent corruption criminal and/or traitorous, like in Mao's China.  They will lie about circumstances if they feel they need to.  Sometimes opposition parties or entire representative branches are dissolved, such as in Venezuela.  Subjects of the regime stupid enough to publicly express support for the ousted ruler, no matter how timid or tepid, are quickly silenced, fined, imprisoned, or disappeared (you could also say canceled), which has happened in Guatemala and elsewhere.

It is fortunate for Americans that this happens only in third-world dictatorships such as Russia, and not in first-world democracies such as the United States of America.

Image: Petri Damstén.

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