Pivotal authoritarian regimes have adapted and modernized their repressive methods and are undermining democracy in updated, sophisticated, and well funded ways. The result is a disruptive and serious new challenge to the emergence of an international system based on the rule of law, human rights, and open expression. Freedom House, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia convened experts for a series of workshops over the course of 2008 and 2009 to analyze the ways in which five influential countries—China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, and Venezuela—are impeding democratic development both within and beyond their borders. These countries were selected because of their fundamental geopolitical importance. They are integrated into broader economic, political and security networks and exert influence on international policy at the regional and global levels.