Heidar Aliev

Granddaddy of Azerbaijan for the last generation, Aliev made the switch from Communism to Oil-fuelled Capitalism with effortless grace. Has taken the cult of personality usually associated with patriachs a step further, having a moutain peak, a Baku mosque and even a star named after him.


Marshal Ion Antonescu

Fascist wartime leader of Romania, ascending to power after the downfall of King Carol II. Though not an anti-semite in the same mould as the Iron Guards with whom he shared power Antonescu has the blood of 270,000 Jews on his hands. Arrested in late 1944 during the Soviet invasion.


Hafez Al-Assad

The Sphinx of the Desert. Assad ruled Syria following the imprisonment of his former boss and mentor in 1970. His hold on power remained unchallenged until his death on Sunday. Relations with the West, never a major concern of his, thawed since he sided with the alliance against Iraq in 1991.

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Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar

Elected President of Cuba in 1940, he lost the next election and subsequently left the country in 1944 only to return to lead a sucessful coup five years later. Usual antics of extravagance and repression led to a series of uprisings and eventually to his own overthrow at the hands of Fidel Castro New Years Eve 1958. Died in exile in 1973.


Leonid Brezhnev

As the supreme power in the Soviet Union between 1964 and his death in 1982 Brezhnev was responsible for crushing rebellions in Czechoslovakia and Poland, as well as the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. His massive military spending in the 70s and 80s lead to the slow decline and eventual implosion of the Soviet economy at the end of the 80s...and for that we are greatful.

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek

Leader of the Nationalist party of China from 1925, Chiang spent most of the 1930s and 40s fighting both the invading Japanese army and the burgeoning communist party. The fight was eventually lost in 1949 and he was forced to flee the mainland for the island of Formosa, now Taiwan. He remained in power there, a benign dictator, until his death in 1975.

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Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier

Democratically elected President of Haiti in 1957, 'Papa Doc' liked the job so much he declared himself President for life at the end of his first term. What followed were the usual repressions, torture and theft of state funds, his regime sustained by the fearsome Tontons Macoute police force. Died in 1971 though not before amending the constitution to allow his son, Jean Claude 'Baby Doc' to succeed him.

Full Biography


Francisco Franco

El Caudillo became head of the shadow government of Spain during the civil war. Managed both to keep his country out of the Second world War and his fascist Falange party in power until his death in 1975.

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General Leopoldo Galtieri

Posessor of the shortest rule in the entire competition, the General assumed power of Argentina's military Junta in December 1981. In a populist ploy to quell opposition at home his troops invaded the Falkland Islands, a sovereign territory of the United Kingdom. This provoked a war which the Argentines lost and which forced him to resign in June 1982, just 178 days after receiving the top job. The junta was out of power just over a year later.


Hissène Habré

Former President of Chad, currently an exile in Senegal. Though best known for the 1974-77 kidnapping of french anthropogist, Francoise Claustre, Habre is believed responsible for up to 40,000 political killings and 200,000 cases of torture in the eight years before his overthrow in 1990.


Saddam Hussein Al-Tikrit

Does this guy even need an introduction? Not satisfied with his eight year battle with Iranian godhead Ayatollah Khomeni (qv) Saddam decided to take on the rest of the world in 1990 when he invaded his southern neighbour Kuwait. Currently on the run somewhere in the empty quarter.

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Enver Hoxha

41 years as the undisputed power in Albania saw Enver Hoxha isolate the country from all his potential allies. First the West, then the Soviet bloc and finally the Chinese. This small Balkan country became the world's only athiest state, its people repressed inside by the secret police, the Sigurimi, and 'protected' from the outside world by a string of pillboxes positioned every couple of yards along the border. Curiously he remained a favourite of Mother Theresa.

Erich's World

Erich Honecker

Had a steady rise to power in post war East Germany and was overseer of the construction and guarding of the Berlin Wall. Assumed absolute power in 1973 and ruled until his arrest in 1990.


General Wojciech Jaruselzski

Unrepentent one time Polish hard man Jaruselzski almost buckled after a series of mass strikes in 1981, only surviving thanks to the threat of a Soviet invasion. The chickens, however, came home to roost eight years later when he was overthrown by a certain electrician from Gdansk.


Kim Jong-Il

The Dear Leader. Son of the first Dictators Contest Champion and heir to the World's first Communist Dynasty, the younger Kim has maintained his father's policies of making sure the citizens of the Northern half of the Korean peninsula refrain from such luxuries as running water, a steady diet and basic healthcare.

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Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Forced into exile from his native Iran by the Shah in 1964 he returned following a theocratic revolution in 1979. Assuming absolute power he returned the country to fundamental sharia law, indulged in an eight year war with neighbouring Iraq and destroyed relations with the west. Died in 1989.

Full Biography

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