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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Russian "Democracy" in Decline

Freedom House has released its 2006 report "Nations in Transit" and Russia's score for democratization has fallen from 5.61 in 2005 to 5.75 this year (a perfectly bad score is a 7, best is a zero indicating absence of anti-democratic influences), a drop of of 0.14 points. Ratings fell in a range of categories: national governance, the electoral process, corruption, and civil society. As relayed by Radio Free Europe, Freedom House says: "We are quite concerned about Russia, in that what we are seeing of course is energy that is continuing to improve the economic situation, but the political institutions are becoming more and more fragile." The report argues that the Russian government has failed to adopt effective policies for easing conflict and tension in the North Caucasus. It has also shown itself unable to reform the military and the police, all of which has fed growing growing extremism. The report says there has been an "onslaught" against media freedoms, and the "near obliteration" of nongovernmental organizations. There has also been harassment of the opposition and legal moves making it more difficult to monitor elections independently.

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