An autocracy is known as a form of government in which all power falls to a single person or group.
The word, autocracy, comes from the Greek αὐτοκράτεια (autokráteia), and is composed of the roots αὐτο (auto), which means ‘self’, and κράτος (krátos), which translates ‘government’ or ‘power’, and can understood as ‘absolute power’.
In the autocracy, the will of the autocrat prevails over the interests of the rest of the public powers, of the other political actors, and of society in general. Thus, the figure of the autocrat is not subject to any constitutional law or framework that limits or moderates his power.
This system of government is comparable to the former absolutist monarchies, where all power was exercised by the figure of the king or monarch. An example of autocracy, in this sense, is the form of government that prevailed in Tsarist Russia between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries.
Autocratic governments can conquer power through coups d’état or even access control through democratic elections, and subsequently modify their orientation to establish an autocratic regime.
Autocracies are characterized by being authoritarian governments, hostile towards the political opposition and any type of social actor that dissents with the ideology of the regime. Hence they develop a strong surveillance and control apparatus over the population to avoid uprisings.
Autocracy and dictatorship
Autocracy is the main characteristic of dictatorships. In dictatorships, all power falls to a single person or an elite, and is exercised without limitation over the rest of the public powers (legislative, judicial), arbitrarily and with a hostile attitude of permanent control and surveillance towards the opposition. regime policy and the rest of the population.
This absolute power, in general, is conquered through military coups, in which a de facto government is established, that is, in fact, without appealing to democratic mechanisms for its election and legitimation.
The autocracy was the characteristic regime of Russian tsarism. In this country, the power of the czars was not limited to any legal framework, so that they exercised power in an absolute manner, which encompassed the fields of political, economic and even religious matters. This form of government lasted in Russia until the 20th.