Throughout her varied career—as a historian, journalist, and professor—Anne Applebaum has paid close attention to the evolving state of democracy in countries around the world. In recent years, that’s meant witnessing and analyzing a pattern of erosion and breakdown.
“I’ve been watching, for a number of years, real problems crop up in the functioning of European democracies and, of course, in American politics as well,” she says.
Rather than maintaining an intellectual detachment, however, Applebaum has plunged into the topic in search of answers and solutions. Her pointed columns for The Washington Post have sounded the alarm on the degradation of democratic institutions worldwide. And through ARENA—a research program she has directed at the London School of Economics for the past two years—Applebaum and colleagues have looked for counterresponses to the scourge of disinformation and propaganda feeding into these breakdowns.