Freedom House Launches Web Feature on Fall of Berlin Wall

Washington

In honor of 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, Freedom House has launched  a new web feature highlighting the changes in freedom in the former communist world that followed the seminal event.
 
Freedom Before and After the Wall includes a retrospective essay; charts and graphs; a series of maps from 1989, 1999, and 2009 reflecting the progress of freedom; and chapters from Freedom in the World from those years examining the emerging state of political rights and civil liberties in a sampling of key countries.
 
The fall of the Berlin Wall, which marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War, was critical to the end of communism in Europe and initiated an unprecedented expansion of freedom that continued globally for almost two decades.
 
“The dramatic events of 1989, and the equally dramatic Soviet unraveling in 1991, are remembered as the final chapter of 20th-century totalitarianism and the beginning of an era of democratic ascendancy, said Arch Puddington, Freedom House’s director of research.  “But as we now know, 1989 produced several narratives, not all of which had the optimistic ending that would have been predicted at the time.”
 
The twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall have witnessed an ever widening chasm between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and those of the former non-Baltic Soviet Union, with the former emerging as consolidated democracies and the latter as mainly consolidated autocracies.  Of the 16 formerly communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, 12 are ranked by Freedom House as fully Free, with only Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro ranked as Partly Free. 
 
By contrast, in the non-Baltic former Soviet Union, only one country, Ukraine, is ranked as Free; while four are Partly Free and seven, including Russia, are Not Free. 
 
For more information on the state of freedom and democracy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, visit:
 
 
Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties around the globe since 1972.
 
 
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www.freedomhouse.org
 
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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.

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