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    Top 10 Signs You Might Be A Dictator

    In reviewing the past year’s events for Freedom in the World 2014 (www.freedomhouse.org), the latest edition of its annual report on political rights and civil liberties around the globe, Freedom House noticed a number of common characteristics among the world’s authoritarian rulers. Here are a few warning signs, and cautionary examples, for any leaders out there who may be drifting toward full-blown dictatorship.

    10. You’ve been chief executive for over 10 years.

    commons.wikimedia.org / Via Agência Brasil

    Since seizing power in 1979, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasago, left, has come to think of Equatorial Guinea’s oil wealth as his personal property, even as his citizens remain deeply impoverished.

    9. You got the job when your father died.

    Via syrianhistory.com

    Bashar al-Assad, bottom left, is fighting a gruesome civil war on the grounds that he is Syria’s legitimate ruler, but he was shoehorned into the presidency after the death of his father, longtime dictator Hafez al-Assad, in 2000.

    8. Everyone is applauding your new national slogan

    Since President Xi Jinping introduced his “China Dream” slogan, the Communist Party propaganda machine has cranked out countless articles, roundtable discussions, and even an international symposium to glorify the vague concept. Needless to say, those who dare to dream of fundamental human rights or choosing their own leaders have been thrown in jail.

    7. Your children are on the boards of multiple offshore shell companies

    World Economic Forum, Leyla Aliyeva Official Twitter

    The children of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, including his daughter on the right, have been linked to a variety of secretive companies, including some based in the British Virgin Islands. Keeping public wealth and power in the family is something of a tradition for the Aliyevs: Ilham succeeded his dying father as president in 2003.

    6. Your enemies live (or die) in exile

    Via commons.wikimedia.org

    Rwandan president Paul Kagame, center, has all but admitted that his agents are hunting down defectors who have sought refuge in other countries.

    5. Your enemies have won a Nobel Peace Prize

    Lorenso Arriaza / Via commons.wikimedia.org

    Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, while serving an 11-year prison sentence for advocating democracy in China. He remains behind bars, and his wife is under strict house arrest.

    4. You are the victim of an international conspiracy

    Via upload.wikimedia.org

    Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has blamed mysterious capitalist conspiracies for the problems caused by his mismanagement of the oil-rich country, which has suffered from rampant inflation, high crime rates, blackouts, and even toilet-paper shortages.

    3. You have declared a state of emergency in the absence of a natural disaster

    Al Jazeera / Via bc05.ajnm.me

    After staging a coup last July, Egypt’s military rulers declared a state of emergency in August that gave police free rein to kill over 1,000 protesters and ignore due process guarantees.

    2. Your new palace is none of our business

    Via 1-ps.googleusercontent.com

    Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych built himself a lavish residence at Mezhyhirya using murky funding sources, and a journalist recently alleged that her brutal beating was in retaliation for investigating an even bigger mansion now under construction.

    1. You must achieve Olympic glory at all costs.

    commons.wikimedia.org / Via kremlin.ru

    The authorities under Russian president Vladimir Putin, left, have harassed, intimidated, and jailed any activists or journalists who expose the dark side of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi by criticizing pervasive corruption, environmental abuses, and property-rights violations associated with the preparations.

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