Freedom House downgraded its assessment of the level of freedom in Russia by the end of 2016

The American non-governmental organization Freedom House has published an annual report on the state of freedom in the world. By the end of 2016, the assessment of the level of freedom in Russia was reduced by two points to 20 points. Like last year, the authors of the report took Russia to the category of “not free countries”.

Maximum 100 points gained in the country with the greatest level of freedom, such as Norway and Finland. North Korea got the three points, the level of freedom in Syria, experts have estimated a negative value — minus one point.

In addition to the cumulative assessment, the study also provided estimates of the level of political rights and civil liberties. In Russia over the past year the state of political rights, according to the authors of the report had deteriorated to the experts placed the country on this indicator in the lowest, seventh level. The state of civil liberties related to the sixth level (the second end), as in the study by the end of 2015.

The researchers noted that in September in the parliamentary elections amid historically low voter turnout “overqualified” received the majority of the party “United Russia”. In addition, as an important event marked by the creation in 2016 by President Vladimir Putin of the National guard, the narrowing of the “space for independent voices” in Russian media and included in the list of foreign agents by the Levada center.

“The economic downturn in Russia has continued in 2016, while the Kremlin has developed several tools in order to pre-empt potential domestic discontent, including through the attraction of public attention to foreign intervention”, is considered by experts of Freedom House.

The report also notes that “beyond its borders, Russia has strengthened radically indiscriminate bombing” population centers occupied by opponents of President Bashar al-Assad. The researchers also noted that Moscow “has deepened its intervention in the elections in developed democracies”, which was made in the framework of “support for populist and nationalist parties, theft and publishing of internal documents”.

Over the last decade, the proportion of free countries in the world declined: in 1986, it was 34% in 2006 increased to 47%. In 2016, only 45% of countries were rated free, partially free countries remained the same — 30%, and the proportion of proprietary for 2006-2016 has increased from 23% to 25%.

The largest fall in the level of freedom for the year occurred in Turkey, experts say. The cumulative level of freedom over the year fell by 15 points to the level of 38, however, the country remained among partially free. Four decreased the level of freedom in Poland (89, free country). The level of freedom in Belarus has climbed three points and caught up with the Russian – 20 (not free).

The greatest decline in freedom over the last ten years recorded in the Central African Republic (down 30 points) and Turkey (28 points). Russia and Ukraine showed the same decline in freedom over the past ten years — in both countries it fell by 12 points, while Ukraine remained partly free country with 61 points.

The worst level of freedom, according to the authors of the report, in 2016, showed Syria (-1), Eritrea (3) North Korea (3) Uzbekistan (3), South Sudan (4), Turkmenistan (4), Somalia (5) Sudan (6), Equatorial Guinea (8), Citrullinaemia Republic (10) and Saudi Arabia (10).

In January 2016 Freedom House also recorded a decrease in the level of freedom in Russia, then fell by one point, from 23 in 2014 to 22 in 2015.