Authoritarianism is one type of political regime in which power is concentrated in one person’s or group’s hands with the partial preservation of human freedoms. Its main characteristic is the lack of democracy, in which citizens freely and honestly determine the government in elections. Although formally, with authoritarianism, elections are held, they do not affect or change the country’s life. Moreover, there is practically no opposition in autocratic regimes, and if it is formed, an opinion that it represents is not considered. The ruling group usually has a circle of trusted and faithful persons holding senior positions. Thus, autocratic leaders compromise independent democratic institutions and limit the freedom of their people.
Authoritarian regimes have become more common in the modern world, and citizens may sometimes not realize that they live in such a country. For example, Pepinsky notes that a very negative view of this regime is widespread, preventing such countries from being considered more attentively. The main difference between authoritarianism and democracy is the absence of changes after the elections. Moreover, Pepinsky notes that some US states in the 20th century were authoritarian when their politicians defended the interests of their supporters. If one considers the emergence of an authoritarian regime after choosing certain politicians, they still represent the people’s will.
However, such politicians usually use populism to come to power. They are powerful when they promise to solve a crisis or a severe problem a country faces, such as a world pandemic. For these reasons, authoritarianism cannot be seen as a manifestation of people’s will.