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Inappropriate Caption under Stalin's Picture?[edit]

I'm not disputing using Stalin as a poster child for dictator, nor am I saying he was a good person by any means. No really. The man was a criminal to humanity. I can't stress that enough.

But Stalin's caption is at odds with the first question this article should pose, which is "What is the definition of Dictator?" It currently reads:

"Under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, tens of millions of people were executed, starved to death or imprisoned in labor camps."

That indirectly tells me that dictators slaughter their own populations in droves, starving them, or send them by the thousands to prison camps to assert their authority. Many dictators do. I certainly wouldn't argue with that point. But that isn't the definition of a dictator. After all, many businesses are run by dictators who came to power because they started their own business. Those people don't murder their employees if they disagree with them. The same could be said about any tribal dictator where leaving the tribe is always an option.

In my opinion, the caption under Stalin's name should stress his absolute authority, not make an emotional appeal of what he did with that power. So, it should say something like:

"Joseph Stalin, who used the Russian KGB to execute and imprison all potential rivals as 'enemies of the state', ensuring his absolute authority as ruler of the Soviet Union."

Jmgariepy (talk) 02:33, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

List of Dictators in Modern Times[edit]

Initial alphabetical listing[edit]

I wanted to find out about dictators and their history, particularly how their reigns came to an end. So I came here, only to find very little info on this page, and a list of dictators that's been redirected here. It's contents was as follows:

Why is belarus listed as a current dictatorship? The president is elected through democratic means.

Initial Discussion[edit]

I agree that the definition of a dictator is vague to have it boiled down to a list, but all of the above should be mentioned in this article, if some people call them dictators. I've put the list here to help towards a more detailed and useful article! -- Sam 12:12 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

There's a similar list (with a bit more text) in one of the old versions of The List of Dictators, which I just restored. See this revision if you want to try and salvage something
Jozef Tiso, Qusling were puppets, Erich Honecker was bureaucrat on top. I think you should know something about history before assembling such lists. Make it from half a dozen most known persons. Pavel Vozenilek 01:48, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Why are you so intent on reducing Wikipedia's content? (cf Father of the Nation) A list of "half a dozen most known persons" would automatically be biased towards an American point of view, when there are dictators much nastier than the ones most Americans are familiar with (I give the "worst dictator" and "most psychopathic despot" awards to Francisco Macías Nguema, Equatorial Guinea, 1968-1979, a name I have never heard come up in any discussion besides the times I've mentioned him on Wikipedia). Such a list must be representative. —Seselwa 02:27, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Because I think these list are based on idea that every nation simply must have at least one Father, at least one Dictator, etc. If an item is missing, some nasty/nice person will just be looked up, without much of thinking. This degrades such lists to joke and to vehicle to express hate/admiration, IMHO.
What I suggest is to limit such list, cover wide area and history, require thorough explanation and for every added name remove other one. Such rule would help to avoid wrong names (IMO) I see now and would stabilize the article. Pavel Vozenilek 18:23, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

A few more dictators[edit]

I can think of a few more, if we're going for the definitive list of modern dictators:

Also, I would add Pinochet to the list of so-called "benevolent dictators". Like Franco, he is a hero to a large minority of his countrymen, who believe he "saved" them from Communism. But Kemal Atatürk is probably the best example of this kind of dictator. ---

Id take Pinochet away from that list, since numerous reports of his crimes have been let known in the media (plus a case of kleptocracy, as he stole more than 27 million dollars and stashed them in the Riggs bank). If well Pinochet's image peaked in the late 90s, it has been desotroyed little by little, today there are barely any Pinochet supporters who arent chauvinists (to top that all rightist politicians have also set them selves apart from Pinochet, right after the Riggs bank scandal), Pinochet has no support as of right now, people have noticed that he wasnt the "savior" of their time, as the situation was completely created by both america corporations (the ITT and minning corporations), the american goverment (The CIA, as they spent a whooping 10 millions in countering Allende) and the oposition (who boicotted everything, creating the black markets, this also includes the news pappers EL Mercurio, who recieved american finance, and radios Mineria & Agricultura).--Kessingler 23:06, 10 October 2005 (UTC).

More discussion[edit]

I dont think Franco was a benevolent dictator! What about the thousands he ordered killed? What about the Spannish civil war and its consequences? In the 70's he was still executing oponents! Muriel Gottrop 10:25, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I didn't study the above lists in detail, but I think they should be added to the article. They must not be forgotten. They are modern dictators, a dictator is just a dictator, this page should mention them, it's up to the people to judge them as "benevolent". An interesting link: Curero 19:33, 18 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Any idea why List of dictators was scrapped ? No discussions could be found on the original talk page, though the page has an impressive history. What we're seeing in this article is that the list is coming back as a sub-section. So this list can either be put into List of dictators, or better, the old page be revived. Jay 20:15, 19 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I removed Jiang Zemin from the list. First, he was President of the People's Republic of China, not the Republic of China. Don't get them mixed up! Second, his position in the government was not exactly absolute and he did not gain an "extraconstitutional or unconstitutional degree of power." I wouldn't object if someone put him back in the list again, provided you linked to the right China (not Taiwan!!).

I also removed Yuan Shikai. He wasn't a dictator durning the Qing Dynasty, although he was PM. Power was wielded by Empress Cixi until her death. Although his actions as President (for Life) of China were tyrannical, he was not around long and was abandoned by his supporters by the time he died. Nothing famous, I believe... --Jiang 17:44, 26 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Possibly complete list. I tried to make it as wide-ranging as possible to avoid bias. Not wikified. No particular order. Formatting not great. Any changes should be made in subsequent comments; please don't edit the list itself.

List removed: see below

--TwinsFan48 November 29, 2003

What was your criteria for inclusion? Listing Ronald Reagan and Bush is definately going to cause some controversy. --Jiang 20:24, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Also add that Yuan Shikai could not have possibly been dictator of Taiwan since Taiwan was part of the Japanese Empire when he was President of the Republic of China and declared himself Emperor of China. --Jiang 23:11, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Criteria for being on the list[edit]

You are probably much more knowledgeable than me when it comes to Chinese history, so I will take Yuan Shikai off the list.

Reagan and Bush have been denounced by both leftists and non-partisans for breaking international convention in funding and supplying guerrilla warfare in Central America (Reagan) and starting wars of uncertain legality in Afghanistan and Iraq (Bush). It should also be noted that Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson and other presidents have been singled out by historians for their actions in East Timor and Vietnam, respectively.

Each person on the list had to meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • Generally regarded as a dictator (i.e. Hitler)
  • At least three references on the Internet to the person being an "authoritarian" ruler, excluding web sites of opposition parties (i.e. Nujoma)
  • A generally extraconstitutional way of conducting government affairs, including excessive corruption and/or extravagance (i.e. Rene Harris
  • Affiliation with an authoritarian communist or fascist regime (i.e. Mao)
  • A leader who rose to power unconstitutionally and used his power to spread extraconstitutional influence (i.e. Zerbo)
  • Excessively militaristic leader (i.e. Than Shwe)
  • Leaders of personality cults (i.e. Niyazov)
  • Leader of a regime repeatedly cited by international organizations for human rights abuses (i.e. Kim Il Sung)

If anything needs clarification, please let me know at my talk page. I can offer only one point of view, but I am attempting to be as neutral as possible.

--TwinsFan48 29 November 2003

Considering the criteria[edit]

Yuan Shikai can be considered. It's more correct to label that he was from "China".

I think "Generally regarded as a dictator" should be the only criteria. If we include people who are considered by a good number of people to be not dictators, then the list will soon dissappear. See Talk:List of dictators for a hasty vote that scrapped the first list.

We can argue that although Reagan and Bush followed an agressive foreign policy that might have broken international law, they were elected through democratic system, had their power checked by a congress, faced considerable opposition domestically, etc. Did they violate the Consitution? If it's controverisal, it doesn't belong. Let's stick to the short list that most readers would agree on. Some links of interest:[1][2]

Also, don't dictators need to be in full control of their countries? Who controls Singapore: Lee or Goh? China: Jiang or Hu? I believe they must be the sole power in the state to be dictators. Their legislatures must be rubber stamps.

Bremer? He takes orders from the Pentagon! --Jiang 01:12, 30 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Include Bremer[edit]

I included Bremer because he can veto any decision made by Iraq's Governing Council. He also was involved in the recent seizure of Al-Arabiyah TV's facilities.

Here is a more refined selection:

List removed: see below


Urho Kekkonen[edit]

Urho Kekkonen, Finland, would fit the list just well. The father of Finlandization, he kept an iron grip on the whole Finnish society. The truth about the 1978 election is that he was elected although already at the time he was unfit to rule. Finland did not have a direct democratic voting system, instead people voted for parliament members, who professed to vote for a certain candidate. However the results of previous elections had been so badly suspect, that leading to the 1978 election there was widespread speculation of a 'black horse' candidate who would not honor their pledge but would vote for Kekkonen anyway.

Outright propaganda films extolling the virtues of Kekkonen were produced and shown at all schools in Finland, where young children at an impressionable age were made to believe that Kekkonen was a true superman in all areas of life. This was not just words but actual doubles were used to present physical feats requiring olympic level skills, cutting and trick techniques were used to leave the impression that Kekkonen had just completed the feats. The Finns refer to this period also as Kekkos-Slovakia, which is a play on the fact that while people in Czech-Slovakia knew that they're part of the east, the general public of Finland were cleverly duped by Kekkonen to believe that they're completely autonomous and free from the influence of the Soviet Union. The word 'finlandization' ('suomettuminen' in Finnish) was rarely heard in public or media before Kekkonen's death, thanks to the process of finlandization and the ensuing strict self-censorship.

-- no username

To / / :

Controversial Entries[edit]

I believe that it is inapropriate that it is suggested in the main article that George W Bush is a dictator, and I think his name should be removed.There is no suggestion that he rules in an undemocratic manner. I'm not convinced that Chiang Kai-Shek should be considered a mass-murderer. Of course he was a dictator, but how many deaths can truly be linked to him or his government? I would like to see some more research on this.

The entries you have made are controversial and are hence getting reverted. Please discuss on the talk-page why you think Ariel Sharon needs to be added to the list. Jay 05:24, 23 Jan 2004 (UTC)

List of (Notable and/or Modern) Alleged Dictators and Oligarchs[edit]

Both sides of the issue aren't fully considering NPOV. On one hand, if a dictator has a notable base of supporters, then it would violate NPOV to say flat out that person is a dictator. On the other hand, Wikipedia must not dodge controversial topics. Topics which are controversial must be on Wikipedia precisely because they are controversial (and, hence, notable).

The attempt to make a flat-out "list of dictators" is doomed to failure so use the adjective "alleged" or "accused". Then, if a significant number of people accuse so-and-so of being a dictator, that person must automatically go on the list.

As for the issue of whether a person has total control over a nation, that point can be disputed by supporters of the dictator. Does so-and-so really control the nation? Remember that dictatorships and oligarchies are always built up as a pyramid so the boundary conditions get fuzzy under NPOV. Thus, just include "oligarch" and restrict the list to the top oligarch of a particular nation.

I happened to see this deleted world dictators link and I was blown away. Very powerful snapshot of powerful men that hold so much power. We can't exclude such information from Wikipedia.

True, the list would spark discussion but the criterion can shift to "alleged" which shifts the burden of evidence. As for all the generated discussion, the list should include "#" links to followup sections that consider both sides of whether the person is a dictator or not.

WpZurp 00:50, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

How bad was Mao?[edit]

The statement that Mao was "responsible for millions of deaths" is supported by our own articles on the Cultural Revolution and Mao Zedong, so I think the reference here is appropriate. Probably either of those pages would be the best place to discuss it, though. Markalexander100 02:41, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I challenge you to prove that Mao was directly responsible for "millions of deaths". Without using other Wikipedia articles on the subject.
Google" "Mao millions of deaths" Will Harvard do? I'll cheerfully concede that the 30 million of the GLF were caused by Mao's wilful blindness rather than bloodthirstiness, but that's part of why dictators are not a good way to run a country. And the Anti-rightist campaign and the Cultural Revolution are very good parallels to the extermination of the kulaks and the purges in the USSR. Markalexander100 03:49, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)
right, cos harvard is not filled with rich kids... who happend to be rightists...

Oh don't be so annoyed that commies like Mao are being called dictators. LOL

Idi Amin and the Army[edit]

I reverted "frequently use the military as a source of their legitimacy, and often wear military uniforms while in office. Pictured here is the well-decorated Idi Amin Dada of Uganda", since Amin was a high-ranking soldier before he became dictator (see Idi Amin). I accept the point about the dressing up (in every sense), but it's a different point from the one being made at this point in the article. It might be worth addressing separately, with a better example. Markalexander100 04:06, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Tojo Hideki wasn't a dictator. I'm pretty sure that Franklin Delano Roosevelt held and exercized stronger power than Tojo Hideki. He was just a prime minister under the Meiji Constitution. In general, prewar Japanese cabinets were even more unstable than postwar cabinets and prewar prime ministers had weaker power than postwar ones. Although the wartime full mobilization system and the concurrent occupation of army minister enabled him to seize stronger power than other prime ministers, he was far removed from a dictator. --Nanshu 01:51, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I would say the goverment of wartime Japan was totalitarian, but it was not a one-man dictatorship, and therefore Tojo was not a "dictator" in the sense that most of the men mentioned were. Reagan and Bush are/were not dictators. They were freely elected and could/can be removed from office by a democratic vote, and in the case of Reagan, he freely reliquished power when the Constitution required him to. The only U.S. President who comes even in the ballpark of being a dictator was FDR, and even he was far from it. Alleged violations of "international law" have nothing to do with dictatorship; that refers only to the nature and extent of a head of state's power over his own country. John

benevolent dictators?[edit]

I have twon benevolent dictators. First, in the classic formulation dictators are benevolent (e.g. Cincinnatus). Second, do any of Fidel Castro's supporters call him a benevolent dictator? Evidence? This whole section seems radically un-encyclopedic, offering no scholarship or critical leverage. Slrubenstein

The benevolent dictator section should only list those leaders who are considered benevolent dictators by their supporters. Castro does not belong, because his supporters do not consider him to be a dictator ( Gattster

you would be surprised on how proud most cubans are about Castro. You shouldnt believe at all in what you have heard about Cuba from american media, Castro's coup was justified, was heroic guerrilla warfare and even though Cuba is one of the poorest countries in the world, some of the things that they have acomplished are even beyond any american achievement (as in education, health, housing and drug erradication, fields that Cuba has succeded in one way or another)... its a very different country (its a good place to live... no technology though, theres barely any phones or clothe)

In that case why don't you live in Cuba? Once the Castros die, Cuba will become democratic.

"democratic" as in the Batistas, Somozas, Pinochets USA has supported over the years? Or "democracy by the gun" as it is currently installing in Iraq through a "scorched earth campaign"? In reality, Cuba has been more "democratic", or better said more atune with human rights and dignity that the so called "democratic" regimes US foreign policy likens.

On what was mentioned about Cincinnatus, I believe that he should be included in the article, for he was definitely a "benevolent dictator". He showed great self control and love for his country, and showed true pietas (duty to one's country and family). --Divya da animal lvr (talk) 23:53, 15 March 2008 (UTC)


I am not surprised for it is against the law to criticise Castro, to do this is desacato (lack of respect for authority) [3], [4], [5],[6]. An ordinary Cuba knows those who visit Cuba and who ask political questions react badly when given the "wrong answer", and frequently feel it is their duty to turn in any who criticize. By the way "Cubans" should be capitalized in English. El Jigüe 1-3-06

Open source comparision? Why[edit]

In the context of open-source projects, a "benelovent dictator"....

Do we really need a reference to open source projects in an article about governments? If wikipedia is to become useful we should avoid referencing these slashdot type running jokes.. Anybody have any thoughts on this?

I run a software development team, and we have a role of "benevolent dictator." When there is a dispute about the proper way to code something, the dictator makes a decision if the developers cannot arrive at one within 15-20 minutes. I wasn't aware that it was used commonly in open source projects, so I found this to be interesting. I'd like to see it remain on this page, but I wouldn't be upset if it were removed. Gattster 00:04:58, 2005-08-26 (UTC)

Lenin quote[edit]


  • Lenin, "The scientific concept of the dictatorship means nothing less than unlimited power, bound by no laws or rules, and directly based on violence."

Pages 59-60, ISBN 0231107269. It has also been found in this form, "The scientific concept of the dictatorship (of the proletariat) means nothing other than unlimited government unrestrained by any laws or any absolute rules and supporting itself by force." See [7] which cites Lance Morrow, "What Workers Get Out of Communism," Time 116:11, September 15. 1980, p. 102

Really? And where did Lenin say that, exactly? I have another document right here [8] containing the following quote:
Lenin, "The political form of a society wherein the proletariat is victorious in overthrowing the bourgeoisie will be a democratic republic."
From my understanding, the "dictatorship of the proletariat" wasn't meant to say we should install a dictatorship in an already democratic country. Communiests feel we currently have a hidden "dictatorship of the bourgeosie", which becomes appearant at times of crisis. Calling it a "dictatorship of the proletariat" just means that the working class makes the decisions, which can be made democratically. Gattster 00:10:03, 2005-08-26 (UTC)

I am not sure where Lenin uttered or wrote the quoted material regarding dictatorship although I have seen it several times previously. I give a page and book as well as a links which contains the quote although the exact language varies. The second quote put forth does not concern dictatorship, but Lenin's Orwellian representation that the regime he anticipated was something rather different from what it turned out to be. Interesting to establish the date and context for that too if we could. Fred Bauder 20:44, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)

The second quote does not concern dictatorship, but it does concern the first quote, by showing that Lenin was far from being an advocate of dictatorship (as the first quote makes him out to be). Moreover, my source for the second quote is a document written by Lenin himself, whereas your source for the first quote is a document written by someone else about Lenin. I'm not saying your quote is false, but since we don't know where and when Lenin said it, it might be completely out of context. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 14:30, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I believe inclusion of the quote in some context is important as the establishment of the dictatorship in the Soviet Union is shown to be a conscious act not something that was stumbled into. Fred Bauder 20:44, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)

Assuming it was a conscious act, the question is, a conscious act by whom? All sorts of people are blamed for the rise of dictatorship in the Soviet Union, and taking sides in this controversy (through blaming Lenin for it, for example) constitutes POV. Besides, I don't see why we need to have any quotes on this page at all. As I mentioned before, there are hundreds of quotes about dictatorship, many of them by the world's most influential political figures (not just Lenin), and we can't possibly include them all. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 14:30, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think if you were to try to designate the most influential person of the twentieth century it would have to be Lenin. It was his seizure of power, establishment of his version of communism, and creation of the particular type of centralized government, which he saw as a dictatorship which defined the history of the twentieth century. That is why his statement is of such great significance. Fred Bauder 15:25, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)

Lenin, the most influential person of the 20th century? Hardly! First of all, you're looking at the issue the wrong way. The 20th century was remarkable for its politics, of course, but it was far more remarkable for the amazing progress in science and technology that took place during it. The most influential legacy of the 20th century is not in the field of politics, but in the field of science. Thus, the most influential person of the 20th century would be someone like Albert Einstein rather than someone like Lenin. Second of all, the great influence on the century that you are talking about was not Lenin himself, but rather the image of Lenin as drawn by his successors. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 18:36, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Due to the lead of Lenin, Communist states throughout the twentieth century and even today are ruled by tiny groups of self-appointed party leaders. Generations of progressives have believed and acted on the theory that dictatorship of this nature was necessary in order to achieve humanistic goals. Some expression of the theoretical basis for dictatorship needs to be set forth in the article. But of course an exact source needs to be found. The quote sounds right and the references are reputable enough but somewhere in the Works of Lenin the exact quote exists and ought to be quoted. Fred Bauder 16:05, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)

Well, the Works of Lenin are rather massive, which means there is a high probability you will find anything in there if you look hard enough. Lenin was, after all, a human being - and human beings occasionally change their minds on certain issues. This is one fact which many people seem to fail to understand: The same person may have well supported entirely different things at different points in his/her life. But I digress. My biggest problem with including Lenin quotes is that it seems to draw on the stalinist habit of using Lenin (or rather, their selected excerpts from Lenin) as the ultimate, absolute authority on anything and everything about communism. Thus, if Lenin said or did something objectionable, anti-communists will throw it as an ad hominem attack on all communists, as if any of them had anything to do with it. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 18:36, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The following is from [9] and provides at least a clue as to the origin of the quotation.

"The government defines itself as being the “dictator-ship of the proletariat,” contradicting the theory of the withering away of the State until its extinction, and Lenin did not fear declaring that the dictatorship signifies “unlimited power depending on violence and not on law.” He repeated time and again that “the scientific acceptance of the dictatorship is nothing more than a power which can provide no limits, that no law nor absolute rule can restrain, and which is based specifically on violence” (On the History of the Dictatorship, in Lenin's Works, 3rd ed., Moscow [1937], Vol. 25)."

I'm trying to find this online but no luck yet. Fred Bauder 16:47, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)

Well, let's start from the beginning: Who wrote the book? If it was published in Moscow in 1937, during the height of Stalin's purges, it might be interesting to cross-reference it with the actual works of Lenin that it is presumably based on. Who knows - perhaps the famous Lenin quote might actually be the result of the stalinist re-writing of history. They had a very prolific "Ministry of Truth", after all. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 18:36, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

New list[edit]

I don't think a short list of suggestions is POV, especially since some are listed in the main article text. I explicitly noted that it is up to the reader to decide for himself. --Sesel 01:53, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The Big brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution in Libya[edit]

The whole international community regarded col.Qaddafi as a dictator and a terrorism sponsor. But in the recent times we start seeing many {so called } democratic countries like Britain and the United States developing strong relationship with their old enemy. In fact since 1969, Qaddafi is the only man in Libya to exercise power and authority, and his evil went far beyond the borders of his country to effect others in different places on earth. His secret police were killing people in the streets and torturing them in prisons in a Stasi manner, his agents bombed an American plane, his front companies manipulated all the resources of his country and turned it into a junkyard, an oil rich country where the salary is 90$ a month. It's really stunning to see Mr. Bush on tv, promoting his war on terror and those who support it, while his representatives regulary visit libya for some unclear reason. Is it the human rights issue? is it the WMD's issue? or is it the Libyan Oil???

So you want Libya to be isolated forever? It is incapable of becoming a democracy, and alternative to Qaddadhi is Islamists, so better to establish good ties with him than remain on bad terms. Oh and Egypt, Jordan etc.. don't have oil and the U.S. has ties with those nations so no, it is not about oil, it is about ensuring that Libya does not remain a nuisance to the outside world.

List of dictators[edit]

I'm mentioning this here since it's more likely to be noticed: I've proposed resurrection of the list of dictators at Talk:List of dictators since I have often thought such a list would be useful, and the main objection (controversy over who should be considered a dictator) could easily be overcome by a section for 'disputed dictators' or something to that effect. — Dan | Talk 01:08, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I disagree. "Disputed" section is just invitation to endless revert wars (like the one about Attaturk). My recommendation is to carefully pick few (half a dozen) persons who will be agreed to really belong there. The list should cover wide geography and history. Pavel Vozenilek 18:23, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Classical dictators[edit]

In this section, I replaced "dictator" with "dictator rei gerendae causa" to emphasize its classical emphasis. I also went into the article on the "dictatorship of the proletariat," and put this Latin term in (the word "dictator" still had its classical connotations during Marx's time, so he understood it to be "dictator rei gerendae causa" - thus his application of this to a larger collective rule of the proletariat.)

(Darth Sidious, Nov. 3, 14:25 PST)

This section contains two paragraphs which largely say the same thing. To remove the redundancy I have compounded to one paragraph, and added a main article pointer to Roman dictator. --Iacobus 01:05, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

why not "mass killers?" instead of "benevolent dictators?"[edit]

Any question could be true. But are we trying to insinuate something?. The point is, we don't care about what some people think, we don't want to think, we want to know.

We can not say 'benevolent dictators?", but we can say "dictators who killed thousands" (case of Franco, for example), then people could think what they want to think.

Of course, there is people who think Franco was a good one (I'm spanish, so speak about Franco), but also there is people too who think Hitler was a good one, and people who think the mass killers of the New York Towers did a good job. What do the americans think about an article in wikipedia saying "benevolent suicide terrorist?" talking about them?

I don't want to read in the article "Dictator" Franco regarded as "benevolent dictator?". A person who killed more than one hundred thousand after the civil spanish war (in the 1940s maybe not a lot of people but...) Maybe in another article, "Franco's supporters" or something like.--Cocorota 11:56, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Colombia is the absolute best example of illiberal democracy. —Seselwa 06:36, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

The most simple route is a Google search for Colombia democradura or Colombia "illiberal democracy". There are several references, including Eduardo Galeano. So, yes, Colombia has been "called" a democradura (mainly because it is). —Seselwa 20:16, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

You think you know a lot, Sesel? I happen to live here, it's hardly a "democradura". Left-wing groups that toss explosive potatos at policemen would have you believe it's a repressive country (and sadly, you fell for it). But I hardly think a trade union leader becoming mayor of Bogotá is really representative of an official democradura.

Kapil 01:01, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

The destruction of civil rights comes from all sides of the conflict, not just the state. In reality, it is not possible to isolate the violations of the state, the FARC/ELN, and the death squads. Added together it is a repressive society. Living there gives you a conflict of interest (pro-Uribe and fervent anti-Communist) that can not be reconciled with Wiki policy unless you at least attempt to present information in a neutral tone. The article reads: "The governments of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Haiti have at various times been considered "democradura" regimes", not "Sesel possesses absolute truth and says that Colombia is a quasi-dictatorship where normal elections can't be held because of threats of violence and the government is trying to manipulate the constitution like some West African banana republic to give Uribe another term and whose president's father had links to shady business interests and where over 30 journalists have been killed in the last decade." (something that I would never add, because it doesn't matter what I think.) The article as it stands reflects reality: Colombia has at various times been considered a democradura, and you can't really dispute that given that several prominent people call it just that! —Seselwa 03:57, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

There's too much left to be said here, but in a few words: Keep Colombia in the list. Yet considering that Mexico, and a few other countries have also been considered as "democraduras" at various times and also by diverse analysts or individuals (check Google, if it were a matter of Google results), it might be worthwhile to consider expanding the list in order to provide a more representative sample, as whether or not Colombia is the "absolute best example" of the term is an entirely different and much more questionable subject, very much open to debate. Several "prominent people" does not a concensus make, as there are also several "prominent people" with the opposite position...or a variation of the same, or simply one that doesn't fit either of the two molds. It's not as simple as that. Juancarlos2004 22:27, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
My point was that since some people call Colombia a democradura, it fits the article's description that it "has at various times been considered a democradura regime." It's not any more complicated than that! —Seselwa 22:53, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
Hence I can agree with you, as far as that particular point is concerned.Juancarlos2004 23:06, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

gradually eroded[edit]

Can someone explain why my edit was reverted without comment and how gradually eroded relates to Hitler in paragraph three? -- JJay 21:32, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Anyone care to comment? Didn't Hitler move rapidly to eliminate constitutional restraints? -- JJay 03:28, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Ian Kershaw has a new and excellent biography - full of new information. But there are many others. Read. As to your question - the Nazi party started to erode the constitutional restraints of the republic long before Hitler became chancellor. Even then it took them some 3 years to eliminate the old German constitution (and write a new one at Nurenberg). To a large part, they only broke loose after old Hindenburg died. The process took several years. Is that quick or gradual? mousomer 09:15, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Why is Pinochet compared to Tito?[edit]

Pinochet being the man that amnesty international blames him for the death of 4000 people (officially 3200 according to Rettig Report) and the torture of 35000 people (official number), the man who won the ficticious elections in 1980 (as there were no voting registries), the man who is in trial today for several assasinations operations (operacion condor, caravana de la muerte, etc), who is in trial for stealing more than 20 million dollars (to then hide them in American Banks). I live in Chile and Pinochet's reputation is in its lowest, he is seen widely as an assasin here and proof of that was that in last year elections none of the rightist candidates even dared to associate the image of Pinochet to them (even though in past elections they were very keen in showing themselves as Pinochet suporters). With all this being sayd, why is Pinochet there?. Pinochet might be hailed as a great leader by people from other countries, right wing pundits or politicians, yet this is not the case in Chile, at least not for the Chile of today.

And your point is what? Tito was far from great himself. He gave autonomy to Kosovo and created the Bosnian state, those actions were highly controversial and have contributed to the Balkan wear in the 90s. But both Pinocher and Tito brought stability to ther countries. Pinochet's economic reforms did better for the country and today Chile is one of the most prosperous in Latin America thanks to his reforms.

State of Awesomeness[edit]

I know what they're trying to say here, but considering the fact that it is a page-less link, perhaps we should use something else, lest people of a lower IQ think that it's vandalism. Which, in all honesty, it sounds like.


"Note that these definitions disregard some alleged dictators, e.g. Benito Mussolini, who are not interested in the actual achieving of social goals, as much as in propaganda and controlling public opinion." In what way was Mussolini not interested in social goals? The article isn't very clear here.

I'd like to see a citation too. I find it hard to believe the even Mussolini ever expressed that he only wanted to control people's minds and had no interest whatsoever in enriching their lives. The section makes him sound like a cartoon villain. (talk) 05:58, 21 September 2010 (UTC)


Just as it was with the list of dictators page, tha map on this page is entirely POV...we would have to state that "all countries in this map are not globally considered to be dictatorships" or the map has to be deleted.Kiske 03:36, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Why arent China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand ranked as current dictatorships[edit]

there all states dominated by a single party, with an authoritarian leadership. All opposition is suppressed, doesnt that qualify them as being current dictatorships. I mean you cant tell me that Cuba and Egypt are more so dictatorships than China, one of the worst human rights abusers in the world?

Because they aren't rulers for life and u can't call someone a dictator just because they're bad look at gerorge bush and vladimir putin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

If you mean "dictatorship" in the sense that a country is ruled by one man holding absolute power with no way for the people to remove him from office, then none of those states are dictatorships. They are each ruled by a small group of people who each have substantial power. One man may be stronger than the others, but he can be (and often is) removed if he gets on the wrong side of too many of the other power brokers. The power struggle in China after Mao Zedong's death is a good example of this, and the same thing happened in the USSR after the deaths of Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev. A good example from a non-Communist state was Japan during the WW2 era. A lot of Americans mistakenly call Hideki Tojo a dictator, but he was just one of many who held significant power, and happened to be prominent when Japan went to war with the U.S. Neither he nor anyone else ever consolidated their power. Jsc1973 (talk) 07:33, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

What about George W Bush being the World Dictator?[edit]

It fits to most of the arguments for being a dictator.

George W Bush took the international law into his hands. He bypassed United Nations, and took the power, laws and lives of another country in his own hands, leading to the death of more than 655,000 civilians. He also lead a military coup to bring down the President of Iraq by force.

--Rocksea 09:05, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Bush (according to most accounts, at least) breached the international law. That is completely different from making law.--Ezadarque 11:17, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Since the 2003 invasion, laws and rulers of Iraq has been dictated by Bush led coalition.--Rocksea 05:42, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
That would make him the dictator of Iraq, not of the world. But he does not sign the laws. If Iraq had a dictator, it would be the American in charge of the occupation. Now that they have had elections, not even that.
Moreover, in the modern sense of the word, dictators must belong to the society they rule. The case in Iraq is of international intervention, condemned by international law, but not of dictatorship. Dictatorship is different from military occupation. Hitler was never referred to as the dictator of France, only of Germany. Nor Hirohito the dictator of Manchuria. --Ezadarque 13:32, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Bush is an democratically elected leader, you idiot. Equinox137 (talk) 09:02, 4 April 2008 (UTC)


OK, I will probably annoy a few people, but rest assured, I don't mean to. But in light of the original meaning and function of a dictator, could we include Winston Churchill? I know he wasn't an "absolutist or autocratic ruler" but he wasn't elected by a popular vote. And he was Prime Minister during a the "duration of a military conflict". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Efrasnel (talkcontribs) 19:36, 8 May 2007 (UTC).

In parliamentary systems of government no leader is strictly elected as a leader. The parliament is elected (by whatever means and franchise) and the leader of the government is chosen on the basis of the parliament. Whilst in many countries this is now treated as a bit of a rubber stamp and parties fight the parliamentary elections on the basis of what they'd do if they formed the government, it is still very much the case that the parliament is crucial for making and unmaking the government, and such a leader's authority rests on constitutionalism. A lot of British/UK PMs have taken office without an election - practically every single one before the 1830s and many, many since.
Hitler becoming Chancellor in 1933 (as opposed to Führer in 1934) isn't really different from this. Remember also that he went to the polls six weeks after his appointment. It's the process of consolidating power that created the dictatorship - saying Hitler became the dictator of Germany on January 30th 1933 isn't really accurate. And in some areas he retained a fig of constitutionalism - the Enabling Act was for four years and renewed as such, the declaration that the presidency was dormant and Hitler becoming Führer were supported by a plebiscite. Timrollpickering 22:59, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Seriously, how can you call a man a "dictator" when he is voted out of office by a free election during a time when the war is still going on? Not to mention that the opposition was willing to let him stay Prime Minister until the war was over anyway, but Churchill voluntarily stepped aside for Clement Attlee. In no way can Churchill be paralleled to Adolf Hitler. Hitler did come to power legally, and for sure was NOT a dictator on 30 January 1933. He became one on 23 March 1933, when the Enabling Act turned over total power of the state to the government, or at the latest when all political opposition was outlawed in July.
The only dictator in the history of Great Britain was Oliver Cromwell. Churchill was not a dictator, nor did he aspire to be one. Jsc1973 (talk) 07:22, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Churchill was a dictator only in the classical Roman sense -- someone with unusual powers during the duration of a great danger, and only for that time, and none not extant in law . As for not being elected, he achieved power through the legitimate means of a parliamentary system in which the Prime Minister is never directly elected by the people but instead by elected officials themselves elected in free and competitive elections. Churchill never conducted a purge; indeed he gladly introduced members of the opposition Party (never suppressed!) into the Government because he trusted that they had the same stake in the preservation of the political system. For the danger that Britain faced, Churchill caused as little political blood to be shed. Oswald Mosley survived the war in Britain, for God's sake.

Due process of law, civil liberties, and rights for ethnic and religious minorities remained intact in Britain. No destruction of the basic decencies of a democracy implies that Britain under Churchill was not a modern dictatorship. No dictatorship? Then the leader was no dictator. Pbrower2a (talk) 04:03, 2 December 2010 (UTC)


Are there currently actual leaders who hold the ACTUAL title of "Dictator"? as opposed to "president" "Premier", "General Secretary"

I mean especially here in the western world, we call some leaders "dictators", yet they themselves do not hold that title. 23:48, 7 June 2007

The intro.[edit]

It strikes me as odd that the intro leads with the origin of the word, and only then gives its modern definition. Shouldn't it be the other way around--common definition first, and origin + archaic usage further down? I'm not entirely sure the original usage belongs in the lead section at all. --Aquillion 18:50, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Use of "Dictator" in Wikipedia[edit]

Please see here for debate, thanks. Tazmaniacs 15:32, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

What, no images?[edit]

Surely there's at least one person we can uncontroversially call a dictator? Other images must be suitable too, e.g. dictatorial propaganda posters etc. Richard001 09:05, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Why concered Ataturk as a dictator[edit]

Why would Ataturk be considered a dictator when he was elected by the people even though there was only one party he should still not be considered a dictator. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:36, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Even if he was comparatively benign, he was still a dictator. Turkish elections were obviously not free. Sure, he might have sought to liquidate the undemocratic characteristics of his regime, but he didn't do it. No worse than Dollfuss or Schuschnigg, neither of whom murdered their opponents? Maybe.Pbrower2a (talk) 04:09, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Was Urho Kekkonen president of Finland a dictator?[edit]

Was Urho Kekkonen president of Finland a dictator? I know he was autocratic, but was it during times of emergency or was it an actual dictatorship? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:24, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

No, he was just autocratic and had a significantly long term as a president, but definitely not a dictator. --Tirkka (talk) 03:18, 27 July 2009 (UTC)


I'm concerned about the following:

Governments in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Eritrea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela have at various times been considered régimes by different critics and opposition groups, not necessarily with an academic or political consensus about the application of the term emerging.

There're no references. Mexico, for instance has been a democracy for over 80 years. --Karljoos (talk) 13:50, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


What abour the president of Republic of Kazakhstan Nursulat Nazarbaev? He is the obviously real dictator. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:00, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

The Kim Dynasty[edit]

According to the article:

"A dictator is a ruler (e.g. absolutist or autocratic) who assumes sole and absolute power with military control but, without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch."

Wouldn't the condition about "hereditary ascension" suggest that members of the Kim "dynastic line" (for lack of a better term), by definition, cannot be considered dictators? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:31, 28 June 2009 (UTC)


Were any of these leaders dictators?

Mátyás Rákosi - Hungary

Todor Zhivkov - Bulgaria

Lenin USSR alot of sources still say he's a dictator

Leonid Brezhnev - USSR

Nikita Khrushchev - USSR

Nicolae Ceauşescu - Romania

Nicolae Ceauşescu - Romania

Enver Hoxha - ALbania

Erich Honecker of East Germany

Antonín Novotný and Gustáv Husák of Czechoslovakia

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - Turkey described bysome as benevolent dictator.

Jozef Tiso sometimes considered a dictator even though he was picked by Hitler it seems he was an absolute ruler of a sovregn nation, though.

Slobodan Milosevic - Yugoslavia considered a dictator epsecially his genocide policies.

Someone even said Benito Mussolini was not a dictator despite so many sources saying otherwise.

I think Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus should be considered a dictator despite all the talk. Especially if the "CIA World Factbook" lists him as one.

An can some visit this site I made it because wikipedia removes list-of-dictators so I'm trying to start one with the discussion board aswell.

An maybe you guys can help me with the list.

Let me help you by saying that; people must refrain from being interested in things that their IQ is insufficient for them. You can't imagine children die of starving each minute, people get fired every day, mothers that clean schools because of expenditure on education. - Avatar896 22:51, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Define Dictator[edit]

What's the difference between dictator and autocrat?


"* is an absolute ruler of a sovereign state;"

Is dictator today generally refer to the type of power the roman general had.

As far as I know people generally regard dictator as having extraordinary(not necessarily absolute) power and abuse it. And is widely considered toward those who are very repressive on something generally defined as human rights.

Besides, this is not the Roman Republic era.

"* governs outside the otherwise accepted rule of law;"

So, when is too far too far when the dictator keeps changing the constitution to fit his rule rather than governing above it.

Hugo Chavez keeps changing constitution and and eventually removed term-limits by not so democratic means.

"* may develop a cult of personality;"

Not always

"* may be autocratic, oppressive, despotic or tyrannical."

From the former "List of Dictators" Maybe be autocratic? As in maybe autocratic and oppressive? Or as in autocratic or oppressive? I'm confused!

There's alot of sources that Do sight Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus as being a dictator, including a reliable source such as "CIA World Factbook". Think they would know more than all of us.

And how do know how the whole government of Belarus works? The U.S. and western Europe weren't even allowed to investigate the elections much less investigate how the government works.

Dubious link[edit] seems inaccurate, listing among others Bolivia's twice democratically elected president Evo Morales. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:57, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

There's nothing in the definition of "dictator" that precludes the possibility of a rise to power through a democratic electoral process. Adolf Hitler assumed the presidency of Germany democratically. However, I do agree that the "Planet Rulers" list casts far too wide of a net and implicates rulers that do not meet the classical definition of "dictator". Uncle Dick (talk) 18:12, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Does Evo Morales possess "sole and absolute power"? Evo Morales is elected democratically and is even to the Wikipedia definition no dictator. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:18, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

what does this have to do with misrule?[edit]

Dictatorship may be considered instance of misrule, but is certainly not exclusively so and the subject deserves its own treatment, and not subsumed under this heading. I'm frankly astonished. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:28, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Edwin Stanton[edit]

Perhaps Edwin Stanton was, and was intended to be, a dictator in the Roman and Jacobin sense, appointed to rule by the Senate to carry forward the Revolution against the defeated slave owning South. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:36, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Why is Muammar Gaddafi a "dictator"?[edit]

Please give credible and consistent evidence to the claim of Muammar Gaddafi being a dictator.

"CBS News" is by no means any credible evidence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:08, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

    • Don't know either, last time there was the RFC about it, but still some users are not giving up the myth of Gaddafi being dictator, which usually born after 22 feb 2011. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Neutrality of the article[edit]

The article was vandalized so many times, especially by anti-socialists. The article is also not neutral, due to the fact that many people use the word "dictator" for propaganda.

The article must be deleted. - Avatar896 19:32, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Deletion, really? You've been editing Wikipedia long enough to know articles aren't just deleted because they're a target for vandalism or if the neutrality needs to be sorted out. Mason Doering (talk) 19:38, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Really. Not just because of vandalisms. The reason is nearly the same as deletion reason of List of modern dictators. They add names of people they don't like. - Avatar896 20:28, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Not just because of vandalism but also because of vandalism? Okay. Mason Doering (talk) 23:28, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Hahaha :D You made me laugh! Its not that difficult to click two links. WP:BLP Some of them may be living dictators, but biographies of living persons policy is still violated. So this is not VANDALISM. The others are WP:NOR WP:NPOV. What a misery... - Avatar896 00:15, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

So intentionally breaking policies isn't vandalism? That's new to me. Mason Doering (talk) 02:55, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Yeah whatever. - Avatar896 17:29, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

    • Avatar86, that's true, the names have been added here, which are not liked by the users, thus this page has every bit of the reason to be deleted, just like the previous one had. I think the list should be removed at least. (talk) 05:24, 2 March 2013 (UTC)


I've removed Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and Ruhollah Khomeini from the list; neither was supported by the given source. Khamenei was mentioned not by the given source, but by another of our current sources, so I kept him and sorted him under "I" for "Iran". Huon (talk) 18:22, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Deletion of the article[edit]

I say again, contents added by users, especially with IP adresses, are not neutral. People keep adding names of people they dislike, they probably think they are saving the world.

I think this article doesn't comply with wikipedia policies. People keep adding names of people without any source. Also, added sources may contain propaganda purposes as some of them do.

Moreover, there are living people in the list. This is a violation of WP:BLP.

There are so many people in the list that really differ from each other. There is no certain meaning of dictator in the article.

The article must be deleted. - Avatar896 19:14, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

At least the list must be deleted. - Avatar896 18:45, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

I say again and again, the article has no solemnity. People edit the article because of their political ideas. They add people they dislike. Even citations from websites are not satisfactory (most of people don't even use them).
Wikipedia mustn't be a website that people edit because of their ideas.
The article or the list must be removed. - Avatar896 15:22, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I'll weigh in here as an editor not involved. The page should stay as is since regardless of your political bent, I'm sure you can agree there is an accepted definition of a dictator. As for the list that was removed, I see no issue with citing current dictators if they can be properly sourced. By this I mean, multiple sources of unique articles from credible third party news sources citing someone as a dictator. The only problem with this is that new leaders are not automatically dictators simply because their predecessor was. Also, since the is the English version of Wikipedia, it must reflect the English speaking world's view. Thus, simply because Iran calls Stephen Harper a dictator, doesn't mean it belongs here. If that is the prevailing idea in the Farsi world, it belongs on the Farsi version of this page. The other issue with this is that does a list of current dictators fall into WP:TRIVIA?
Despite the attempt for neutrality on Wikipedia, it is impossible to do so. Since this entire encyclopedia is based on the prevailing idea of only using third party sources, if person X is generally accepted in English third party sources to be a dictator, they are a dictator period. Unfortunately, it would appear that the anonymous IP editors are as guilty as the registered editors who frequent this page of allowing their own biases to creep into the page. I'd say at this point, if any editor believes that this page should be deleted, they should nominate for deletion. Since Wikipedia is built on consensus, one user asking for deletion on a talk page is like yelling out the window, nothing with happen without the formal process. Shootmaster 44 (talk) 01:22, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

About the dictators[edit]

Why Chinese Communist leader Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, Soviet communist leaders Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, Cuban President Raul Castro, Argentina military junta leader Jorge Rafael Videla, Roberto Eduardo Viola, Leopoldo Galtieri, Reynaldo Bignone, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat are not dictators???????Marxistfounder (talk) 18:14, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Can you prove Vladimir Lenin, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev are dictators? Dictatorship is not just a fact that can be learned by studying propagandas. Stalin is on the list by the way. - Avatar896 13:42, 12 February 2013 (UTC)


I have restored Yeltsin whom I added previously. It is referenced that he was a dictator, and also he ordered tanks to shoot at the parliament in violation of constitution in 1993. The constitutional court decided it was illegal, but he neglected the decision. Earlier he got extraordinary powers.--Anixx1 (talk) 21:29, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Instead of being called a dictator he more deserves to be titled with a nearly untranslatable Russian word распиздяй.-- — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:38, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

I want to know about the concensus and discussion about whether a list of dictators should be included in the article[edit]

I saw someone posted a section of #List of Dictators in Modern Times and also Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/List_of_dictators, but I am still quite confused on what happened and why.--chaoxiandelunzi (talk) 06:31, 3 January 2014 (UTC)