Freedom House

The democracy index calculated by the non-governmental organization Freedom House, has decreased in Russia over the past 10 years by almost 30% – from 1.86 to 1.39 units

Freedom House

The democracy index calculated by the non-governmental organization Freedom House, has decreased in Russia over the past 10 years by almost 30% – from 1.86 to 1.39 units. Russia, as in 2010, continues to remain in the category of consolidated authoritarian States. This is stated in the report, called “transition Countries 2020: dumping the democratic facade”, which was published on the website of Freedom House.

As noted in the report of the organization, pandemic coronavirus able to accelerate the downward trend in democratic values, and to strengthen the level of democracy in different countries. In more and more countries of the world refuse to even pretend to be democratic, and this applies particularly to the so-called countries in transition – European and Asian States of the former socialist bloc. In particular, Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro in 2020 moved from the group of countries with democratic regimes in the group of hybrid regimes. Deteriorated performance and democratic Poland that joined the group of countries with prokonsultirovat democracy.

It is noted that the leaders of these countries openly attack democratic institutions including under the pretext of combating coronavirus: there are frequent attacks on the independence of the judiciary, are threats to civil society and the media, and parliaments are no longer the center of political debate and oversight of the Executive branch.

The authors of the report concluded a “stunning failure of democracy” 29 the so-called countries in transition. Today in the region of less democracies than ever since the publication of the first annual report in 1995. Pandemic coronavirus has contributed to greater vulnerability of citizens before further violation of their rights that already recognized in the European Union.

According to the Freedom House rating, Russia ranks among the seven consolidated authoritarian regimes among transition countries, along with Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine belong to the category of transitional (hybrid) modes: in Armenia, in particular, have the highest over the past two years improving democratic indicators associated with democratic elections and the fight against corruption. And best of all the case with democracy and human rights situation in Estonia, which the authors of this report belong to the category of consolidated democracies. This category also includes Lithuania, Latvia and Slovenia.

In authoritarian countries the transition period of the current rulers used to have at their disposal the control over the state institutions to further strengthen its position. So, the leader of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned in March 2019 only to pick up much of the power of his designated successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. And the presidents of Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan appoint their relatives to high state posts, preparing the ground for political dynasties.

In addition, these countries have become the object of an ambitious foreign policy of China, whose participation in the life of transition countries varies from of suppressing unfavourable coverage of China in the media up to the provision of financial assistance by the corrupt elite and supply repressive governments with the technology surveillance of citizens. According to the report, China is increasing its influence, adapt solutions to local needs, uses, institutional weaknesses and part of the local corrupt political and economic structures. This approach undermines the rule of law and transparency, which further contributes to the deterioration of the quality of control and repression in a particular region.

Speaking about Russia, the authors of the report say that the reason to bring the authorities to justice could be environmental protests, but the authorities try to intercept the initiative. They remind us of the history of the landfill near the train station Lies: although protests against its construction was rigidly suppressed, in January 2020, the court ruled to halt the construction of the landfill in Cheese. At the same time the Kremlin is thinking about the “reset” loyal to the authorities of the Russian ecological party to intercept and lead growing nationwide environmental activity.