30 June 2010

Trend: Democracy declines in former Soviet Union and new EU states

Freedom House, a US organization advocating democracy around the world, and Freedom House Europe, its regional hub based in Hungary, yesterday released their "Nations in Transit 2010" report:


From the press release: "In a sign of broad, cross-regional pressures on democratic development, countries throughout the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe suffered declines in their democratic institutions [...]. The democracy scores for 14 of the 29 countries examined in Nations in Transit worsened in 2009 compared with the previous year. In the former Soviet Union, six countries saw an erosion in their overall score. Six new European Union member states also experienced declines, with two countries in the Balkans accounting for the remainder. By contrast, only five countries covered by the survey registered improvements. The findings in this year's edition cap a decade in which all of the countries in the former Soviet Union save one suffered declines in democratic accountability. Russia experienced the single largest overall deterioration during this 10-year period. [...]

"At the close of the decade, and 20 years after the end of the Cold War, nearly 80 percent of residents of the former Soviet Union – some 221 million people – still live under entrenched authoritarian regimes [...]. Amid pressures that included economic recession and rising nationalism, a number of new EU member states suffered declines. Slovakia experienced the sharpest downturn, with its scores falling in five of seven categories. Hungary's ratings fell in three categories [...]. Over the past five years, eight of the ten new EU states have undergone declines in their overall democracy scores."

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