It's not easy being a dictator or arranging the cards in a deck to always work your way.....so I'm offering advice to would-be-dictators, or people who'd like to easily recognize a dictator.
1. Chatter constantly about reform.....but never actually do anything for reform.
2. Constantly have people arrested, interrogated, and charged. Even if none of these people actually go before a court....it keeps everyone on their toes....wondering if they will be next or they might be charged.
3. Appear on state-run TV at least a dozen times a day. Even if you are just greeting some sports club, or group of tourists from China....face-time makes people think you are active.
4. Blame everyone for every single problem you can imagine. Blame people inside of the country. Blame the country-men who are outside of the country. Blame foreigners. Blame Russians. Blame the Catholic Church. Blame the EU. Blame Bush. Blame Putin. Blame does not have to be factual....even fake blame is OK.
5. Look sharp. Dress either in military uniforms or 4,000 Euro custom-made Italian suits with 1,000 Euro Italian shoes. When the cameras come into your palace or state building....make sure the chairs stand out....that the carpet is all imported from Iran....and that the chandeliers are French-made. Never look cheap.
6. Involve lots of foreign governments in your fake operations, fake governments, fake diplomacy, fake coups, fake democracy, and fraudulent relations. Drag anyone and everyone into the scene....making them participate and show some legitimate nature to your government.
7. Fire generals.....hire new generals.....fire the new generals.....and hire newer generals.
8. Hire up a flag company, and put their employees on double-time. Have crates of flags ready to ship for a festival or ceremony. At least a dozen flags per citizen of the country should be made monthly and issued out for any public occasion.
9. Keep hyping a threat....any threat. The public have to believe that it's better with you, than the threat. Generate fake threats. Hype up imaginary threats. Suggest coups.....counter-coups.....perceived coups, etc.
10. Every single newspaper and magazine in the country....has to be tied or handcuffed to your regime. If they aren't, they need to be put in jail for a while. The only good news....is pro-regime news. And the public has to believe it.
I know that that three-hundred pages ought to be the normal theme book on dictatorships, or give you the 200-odd ways of inventing a dictatorship out of thin-air, but really, do we need to make this rocket-science? Do dictatorships need to be complicated or like nuclear science? No. Just dirt simple enough to work with the dumbest idiot possible.