The level of freedom and democracy in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe continues to fall for the 12th consecutive year, says the annual report of the NGO Freedom House. Research published since 1995 (with the new methodology — since 2003) under the heading “Countries in transit”, is intended to track democratic change in the former States of the Soviet bloc. Report for the year 2016, the organization published 4 APR.
By the end of 2016 from 29 countries monitored the state of democracy deteriorated in 18 States, six countries, by contrast, improved their performance, another five remained in the same positions. The last time the same large number of showed a reduction of the rating in 2009 after the global financial crisis, the report said.
Freedom House is monitoring the situation in the countries according to seven indicators, each of which can be obtained from zero (highest level of democratic progress) to seven (lowest level) points. The arithmetic average of these indicators determines the overall “points of democracy”, received by the state.
The least free countries of the former Soviet bloc, analysts have recognized Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: both received a score of 6.96. Most free — Estonia from 1.93 points. Russia the level of development of democracy were between Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, receiving 6.57 points (a year earlier, the figure was 6.5). In the General list, Russia is on 23rd place out of 29 — the same as a year earlier.
Russia’s position has worsened on two of the seven indicators: degree of freedom of the civil society (particularly NGOs) and the degree of development of the legal system. Due to what happened the downgrade, the report explained.
The decrease in the level of democracy in Eastern Europe the authors of the study explain the results of a referendum on Brexit and the US election. The results of the referendum on Brexit and elections in the United States, according to one of the authors of the report Nate Kencana, increased instability and unpredictability in world politics, thereby strengthening the position of the populists in Europe. First and foremost, the Freedom House analysts pay attention to the growth of authoritarian trends in large countries such as Hungary and Poland. Each has gained 0.25 points in the direction of “undemocratic” (Hungary: from 3.29 to 3.54 points; Poland: from 2.32 to 2.57 points).
“Now, in Hungary the minimum level of development of democracy in Central Europe. For its part, Poland has made a low in the history of our research, says the report of Freedom House. In these countries, populists in power are attacking the constitutional courts, dismantle the system of checks and balances, turning the media into an instrument of propaganda.”
Hardest have improved their performance, partially recognized Kosovo: from 5.07 to 4.96 points. In the ranking of the advanced Belarus, Latvia, Romania, Ukraine and Montenegro. The democratic process in Ukraine, according to the version of Freedome House, is developing the third consecutive year and has now reached approximately the 2010 level after a pullback during the reign of Viktor Yanukovych. Changes are markedly weaker pace than expected, but the authors of the report emphasize that the international community must continue to support Kiev, and that “will have no other choice but to implement significant reforms.”
Moscow has always treated such reports with skepticism, said in a conversation with the Chairman of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Alexei chepa. In his opinion, the conclusions of the report of Freedom House should be considered “relative” and to trust them with caution. “For example, today at the session of the inter-Parliamentary Union in Bangladesh, representatives of 44 countries voted for the Russian resolution on non-interference in the internal Affairs of sovereign States, ten EU countries were opposed,” he stressed chepa.
“We are convinced that Europe has a different understanding of democracy. In addition, in the US there are calls to revise the electoral system as the Foundation of its democracy. In these conditions, many of these ratings, we should not pay special attention”, — said the MP.