One year ago, U.S. lawmakers discovered what happens when you mess with the internet, as Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, and millions of ordinary users helped “black out” the net on January 18 to protest SOPA and PIPA—two controversial pieces of legislation that were designed to fight online piracy, but threatened instead to censor the internet and disrupt the way it functions. Since that day, there has been a rise in new laws around the world that restrict free speech online and prompt arrests of internet users, a key trend identified in Freedom House’s 2012 Freedom on the Netreport.
In a display of callousness unusual even by Vladimir Putin’s standards, Russia eliminated the possibility of a better life for thousands of orphans last week when Putin signed into law a ban on adoptions by Americans. David J. Kramer and Arch Puddingtonexamine Vladimir Putin's 'power play' in a Washington Post op-ed.
Freedom House condemns the recently passed “Dima Yakovlev Law” in Russia, which introduces new restrictions on Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and prohibits adoptions of Russian orphans by American citizens. The law, reportedly in response to the recent Magnitsky Law passed in the United States, represents an asymmetrical attack against one of the most vulnerable groups in Russian society.
Freedom House condemns new, severe restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression passed on December 26 by the Moscow City Council. The new legislation broadly bans vigils by individuals — so-called “single-person pickets” — if they are “united by a common organizer and goal.” The legislation also bans using vehicles in a demonstration, including driving within the city center while displaying political or protest symbols.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
As President Barack Obama enters his second term, relations with Russia present him with a set of thorny problems. This package of materials includes policy proposals, a summary of Russian legal restrictions on NGOs, a chronology of repressive actions under Vladimir Putin since 2000, and graphs illustrating Russia's score declines in Freedom House's annual reports.
“Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On,” marks the 20th anniversary of the failed Soviet coup of August 19, 1991. The retrospective essay examines the changes in the political rights and civil liberties in the former Soviet Union over the last two decades, as well as includes graphs and rankings that illustrate the region's performance in the annual Freedom House publications Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press. The report concludes that there is a serious and disturbing failure to embrace democratic institutions in most of the post-Soviet region.
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