Ukraine, together with the Baltic States, deemed the only free postSoviet states
Ukraine is the single ray of hope in Freedom Houses study into political and civil liberties in the post-Soviet area. This is the conclusion reached by experts from the nongovernmental organization based in New York Freedom House. In its annual report just published it also states that Russia has consolidated its position as a “not free country”, while certain other post-Soviet states have even entered the list of the “Worst of the worst”, i.e. the most repressive countries of the world.
Freedom Houses experts analyse the situation with political and civil liberties in 192 countries and classify them as free, partly free, or not free. Ukraine is the only post-Soviet country, aside from the Baltic Republics which is classified as “free”. The Director of the European Section of Freedom House, Kristy Evenson, said in an interview to Radio Svoboda:
“Ukraine has shown itself to be ready for a range of political and civic reforms. During the period of our study, a legitimate transfer of power took place with adherence to existing legislative norms, political and electoral processes and with the beginnings of reforms of the legislative system as a whole. This allows one to hope that the mechanisms and structures in Ukraine, although still very weak, will become the basis for a viable and enduring democracy.”
Azerbaijan, Russia and Belarus remain in the category of “not free countries”. Of the other post-Soviet countries Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova fall into the category of “partly free”.
Kristy Evenson mentioned in her interview that the situation was worsening significantly in Central Asian post-Soviet republics.
“We are generally observing a restriction of liberties in Central Asia … Central Asian regimes are curbing political and civil liberties and there is little hope that the situation will begin to improve in the near future, particularly in such countries as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan”.
The worst situation with human rights is considered to be in Birma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Also included in this category are two territories, Chechnya in the Russian Federation and Tibet under China whose inhabitants suffer intense repression, the report states.
According to Kristy Evenson, last year 46% of the countries of the world were classified as “free”, and 30% as “partly free”. Representatives of Freedom House expressed the hope that this year the newly-created UN Human Rights Council would take into account the situation in countries which are classified as “not free” when considering observance of political and civil liberties.
Kyiv 8 September 2006