“The third”, “the fourth” or even “the fifth wave” of democratization and autocratization? The essence, dynamics and consequences of political transitions in europe and the world.

Irena Gałka

The article examines the essence, directions, dynamics and consequences of political transitions in Europe and the world, in particular through the prism of what should be the sequence of «waves» of democratization or autocratization from the end of the 20th century until today. It is argued that it is inappropriate to say on average that some “new wave»” of democratization has begun in the world today, but instead the “third wave” of democratization has ended globally and the “third wave” of autocratizationhas begun. Although, in contrast, the next or “new” “waves” of democratization do sometimes take place in certain regions of the world, but they are not universal one and instead are often replaced by the “rollbacks” from democratization. In general, the current trend is, on the one hand, an increase in the number of autocracies and hybrid regimes in the world and a decrease in the number of liberal and illiberal democracies. On the other hand, the processes of “erosion” of democracy as such continue to take place today, when the quality, level and efficiency of democracy declines in most countries of the world due to various crisis phenomena.