Tag Archives: freedom house

EDITORIAL: Back in the USSR

EDITORIAL

Back in the USSR

Every year the good folks at Freedom House prepare a worldwide survey of the state of freedom and democracy. This year’s report on Vladimir Putin’s Russia is particularly horrifying, and not even because Russia’s scores were lower than they have ever been, although they certainly were.  What was most jolting was a look back at the trend Russia has now conclusively displayed under Vladimir Putin.

Under FH’s methodology, each country is assigned a numerical rating from 1 to 7 in a variety of basic criteria, with 1 representing the most freedom and 7 representing the least.  Tracking the data over time from 2002 through 2011 produces the following chart:

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EDITORIAL: Putin Knifes the Infant RuNet

EDITORIAL

Putin Knifes the Infant RuNet

Georgia:  35

Russia: 52

If we were talking international basketball scores, those would be good numbers for Russia.  But we’re not. We’re talking Internet freedom, as analyzed by Freedom House.  The higher the score, the less the freedom.

FH reviewed Internet access among a group of 37 countries around the world, and found that Georgia ranks #12 in the group, in the top third and right behind South Korea, while Russia ranks #22, right behind Rwanda and well into the bottom half of all countries surveyed.  In the group of nations designated by FH as “partly free” only four have lower scores than Russia (including Egypt at 54 and Pakistan at 55).  The USA’s score is 13, surpassed in the group only by Estonia.

Twice as many Russian bloggers were arrested in the most recent survey period compared to the last one. Russia’s rank fell three places since the prior survey, and its score got much worse, from 49 in 2009 to 52 in 2011.

If course, it may not matter much how free or unfree Russia’s Internet is, because according to FH two-thirds of the Russian population has no Internet access at all.

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Backwards, Oppressive, Horrifying Russia

Our lead editorial touts the latest “Nations in Transit” report from Freedom House, which finds that Russia  “has undergone the largest decline of any country in the study” of 29 countries in post-Soviet space where human rights and democracy are concerned.  Here is the executive summary from the Russia report.

Over the past decade, Russia’s government has become increasingly authoritarian. Boris Yeltsin’s presidential tenure from 1991 to 1999 saw competitive, but tainted, elections, relatively free television discussions, an incipient civil society, and somewhat decentralized political power. However, it laid the groundwork for increasingly authoritarian rule with the 1993 tank assault on the Parliament, a super-presidential constitution, the first Chechen war, and extensive corruption.

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EDITORIAL: Russia descends further into the Totalitarian Mire

EDITORIAL

Russia descends further into the Totalitarian Mire

Late last year, when the Reporters without Borders organization released its latest index of press freedom, we learned that Russia had fallen a shocking 12 places from its ranking the prior year to #153 in the world out of 175 countries under study, for the first time dropping below the crazed dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus.

Last week, Freedom House released the latest results of its own ongoing study of press freedom.  According to FH, Russia is doing even worse than RWB imagines.  Russia is 26th out of 29 nations in Eastern Europe and a jolting, appalling #175 overall out of 196 nations under review.  At rank number 175, Russia is tied with the crude African banana republic of Gambia according to FH’s seasoned analysts.

These ratings are eerily similar to other ratings held by Russia. It also doesn’t rank in the top 100 nations of the world in criteria like life expectancy or fertility.  These facts are indicative of absolute, total failure on the part of the so-called “government” of Russia to build a successful, civilized state.

We cannot help but ask ourselves:  Do the people of Russia have any shame at all?

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EDITORIAL: Russia is Exporting Dictatorship

EDITORIAL

Russia is Exporting Dictatorship

The democracy defenders at Freedom House have released a devastating new report on Russia, entitled Undermining Democracy and lumping it together with rogue nations like Iran and Venezuela, its allies, as states which are aggressively, ideologically, seeking to destroy the institution of democracy both at home and abroad.  FH had already released a report detailing how the Putin regime has continued to wipe out democracy within Russia’s borders, and now it shows, beginning with the example of Russian aggression in Georgia, that the KGB Kremlin is not satisfied with exterminating freedom within Russia’s own borders.

Brutally subtitled “Selective Capitalism and Kleptocracy,” the FH report lays bare the barabaric conduct of the Putin regime in seeking to replicate itself like a virus thoughout post-Soviet space.

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EDITORIAL: Russians Yearn to Breathe Partly Free

EDITORIAL

Russians Yearn to Breathe Partly Free

The Statue of Liberty implores the world to send America all citizens who “yearn to breathe free.”  But this may be a bit much to ask where the barbaric denizens of Russia are concerned. Perhaps, all we can ask for is those who wish to breathe partly free — such is the state of the benighted quagmire they call home.

One  of our most-admired readers is known as “Penny” and last week directed our attention to the latest global press freedom survey by the internationally-known human rights institution Freedom House, which is doing yeoman work in plumbing the depths to which neo-Soviet Russia has descended under rule of KGB tyrant Vladimir Putin.

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EDITORIAL: Russia is a Barbaric Nation

EDITORIAL

Russia is a Barbaric Nation

Last week we reported on the latest “Index of Economic Freedom” published by the prestigious think tank Heritage Foundation.  The report ranked Russia #146 out of 179 nations under study, the bottom 20% of all countries in the world,  and #41 out of 43 nations in its region — the bottom 5% of that group, in a class with Haiti.  It showed that Poland receives 40% more foreign direct investment than Russia per capita because Poland offers investors so much more economic freedom than Russia does.

Freedom House has also recently released its annual review of political freedom, which it calls the “Freedom in the World” report.  Only 42 out of the nearly 200 countries under review are classified as “not free” by Freedom House  (down from 54 in 1978) and Russia — purported member of the G-8 group of democracies — is one of them, and only 23 members of the “unfree” group received scores lower than Russia.  Russia is one of only seven countries out of 28 in its region, Central and Eastern Europe, to receive the “unfree” designation.  Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia and Latvia are all given higher scores for political freedom than Russia.

The shame and humiliation that comes to Russia as a result of scores like these from highly respected international organizations ought to be far too much to bear.  Even without considering Russia’s massive economic collapse of the past six months, with soaring unemployment and inflation and plummeting stock market and currency values, the people of Russia ought to see the need for regime change.  They ought to be able to recognize that being governed by a proud KGB spy has done nothing but to alienate and polarize the entire world against Russia, so that now the civilized world views Russia as a barbaric banana republic.

But they can’t seem to manage this, and that seems to confirm the world’s worst suspicions about them.