The Erosion of Democracy in Russia Continues
Freedom House today released its narrative report on the state of freedom in Russia during the past year and concluded that civil liberties and political rights continue their alarming decline. The report, available on the Freedom House website in both Russian and English provides the rationale for the scores assigned to Russia by Freedom House in its annual survey of every country, Freedom in the World, and is accompanied by an overview essay (in Russian) providing a broader context for the report.
The scores given to Russia have gradually but steadily moved downward from the highs given in the early 1990s. The Freedom House report concludes that heightened government control of civil society organizations, along with growing constraints on the news media, further diminished freedom in Russia in 2006. These actions came on the heels of successful government efforts in previous years to gut political parties and hollow out the electoral process, and to concentrate power in fewer hands by altering the constitution to allow the president to appoint regional governors.
“The systematic dismantling of Russia’s nascent democracy is a tragedy for the Russian people, with serious consequences for the larger region and indeed the further expansion of freedom around the world,” said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor. “Freedom House believes that the U.S. and Europe have not adequately addressed the issue of democratic backsliding in Russia,” she added.
The numerical scores for political rights and civil liberties given by Freedom House to the Russian Federation earlier this year were erroneously reported by numerous media outlets in Russia. In response, Freedom House has expedited the translation and release of this narrative report to clarify what its analysis actually concludes, explain what the numbers mean, and invite dialogue on these issues with those who hope Russia will succeed in becoming a democratic and prosperous country.
Freedom House, an independent non-governmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has monitored political rights and civil liberties in Russia since 1991.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.