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Democracy in ongoing decline in Ukraine


Freedom House’s 2013 Freedom in the World Report speaks of “noteworthy declines” in Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan.  Some of Ukraine’s other post-Soviet neighbours presumably didn’t have far to fall.

Freedom House’s Arch Puddington says that “in Eurasia, the performance -- especially on political rights indicators -- is the worst in the world.  …worse than in the Middle East, and this is something new."
“With Russia setting the tone, Eurasia (consisting of the countries of the former Soviet Union minus the Baltic states) now rivals the Middle East as one of the most repressive areas on the globe. Indeed, Eurasia is in many respects the world’s least free subregion, given the entrenchment of autocrats in most of its 12 countries.

The authoritarian temptation poses a threat even in Eurasian countries with recent histories of dynamic, if erratic, democratic governance. Thus Ukraine suffered a decline for a second year due to the politically motivated imprisonment of opposition leaders, flawed legislative elections, and a new law favoring the Russian-speaking portion of the population. In Central Asia, Tajikistan’s civil liberties rating declined due to a military operation in Gorno-Badakhshan, which resulted in scores of deaths, extrajudicial killings, and a media crackdown. Kazakhstan’s media environment deteriorated in the wake of a crackdown on labor unrest in late 2011, with authorities banning opposition newspapers and blocking opposition websites and social media.
Both Tajikistan and Kazakhstan fared only slightly better than Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, whose abysmal rights records kept them at the very bottom of Freedom House’s list, alongside Syria, Somalia, and North Korea.
"The only bright spots [in the Eurasian region], really, are Georgia, which improved a bit; Armenia, which improved a bit; and Moldova, " Puddington says. "Otherwise, Eurasia is one massive sea of not-free countries."


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