The first basic assumption of this project is that the autocrat is foremost concerned with his personal well-being and the preservation of his power and position. These concerns are closely linked to his personal safety and that of his close allies. Additionally, by holding on to power, the autocrat is guaranteed the long-term payoffs in wealth and prestige associated with the control of a national leadership. While the autocrat appears to be in a position of uncontestable power and confidence, his/her position is never permanent or assured and can be preserved only through constant vigilance and action. For this reason, scholars have long sought to identify the methods and maneuvers autocrats can and must take to maintain their tenuous grip on power to ensure their personal well-being.