Democracy, Great Powers, and the Russia-Ukraine War. A Discussion with Stefan Wolff


How helpful is the democracy-authoritarianism binary when it comes to our understanding of contemporary conflict? What is the state of the Russia-Ukraine war? And how has it affected the great power rivalry between the United States and China? Listen to Stefan Wolff and Petra Alderman talk about the global struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, the state of the Russia-Ukraine war, and whether democracy is likely to lose out from the heightening tensions between the three great powers: the United States, Russia, and China.

Stefan Wolff is a Professor of International Security at the University of Birmingham. He is well-known for his research on the management of contemporary security challenges, especially in the prevention and settlement of ethnic conflicts and civil wars. He is also an expert on post-conflict state-building in deeply divided and war-torn societies and has written extensively on the geopolitics and geo-economics in Eurasia, including great power competition between Russia, China, and the West. He is a regular contributor to The Conversation and a co-founder of the Navigating the Vortex.

Petra Alderman is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Leadership for Inclusive and Democratic Politics at the University of Birmingham and Research Fellow at CEDAR.

Please note that this episode was recorded in December 2023. All mentions of ‘this year’ refer to 2023 and mentions of ‘last year’ refer to 2022.

The People, Power, Politics podcast brings you the latest insights into the factors that are shaping and re-shaping our political world. It is brought to you by the Centre for Elections, Democracy, Accountability and Representation (CEDAR) based at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Join us to better understand the factors that promote and undermine democratic government around the world and follow us on Twitter at @CEDAR_Bham!

Your Host

Petra Alderman

Petra Alderman (prev. Desatova) is an associate researcher at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and a post-doctoral research fellow at the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests lie in the area of authoritarian legitimation, electoral studies and promotional politics. Her regional focus is on Southeast Asia and has a particular expertise on Thailand.

View Profile