The hijacking of a civilian passenger jet by Belarus on 23 May 2021, has added a new page to The Dictator's Handbook. This was the use of a fighter jet to enforce the hijacking, following a false bomb threat, then forcing the airliner to land in Minsk, all to facilitate the arrest and imprisonment of the prominent opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and his fiancé. The use of a fighter jet by the Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko was a novel, yet draconian way to silence a journalist.
Reaching out across national borders to silence critics is the most notable addition to The Dictator's Handbook. Freedom House has identified 608 cases of transnational repression since 2014. (1)
Perhaps the world's attention to the plight of the Belarus journalist will keep him alive. It will be more difficult to kill and 'disappear' this journalist, now that the world knows his situation.
This is not the case with the 273 other journalists imprisoned in 2020, or the 66 that are missing globally. (2)
An interesting case study is the Philippines. Murder has always been a favorite tool for dictators, but in the Philippines, the threat of murder, and murder itself, is now endemic.