Freedom House today (August 19, 2011), launched a web feature presenting its latest special report, “Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On,” to mark the 20th anniversary of the failed Soviet coup of August 19, 1991. The feature includes a retrospective essay examining changes in the state of political rights and civil liberties in the former Soviet Union over the last two decades, as well as graphs and rankings that illustrate the region’s performance in the annual Freedom House publications Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press.
Citing this historical data, the report notes a serious and disturbing failure to embrace democratic institutions in most of the post-Soviet region. While the three Baltic states have fully adopted democratic governance, seven of the remaining 12 countries are currently ranked as “Not Free” in Freedom in the World. The report finds that the ascendancy of former Russian president and current prime minister Vladimir Putin has had “the single most significant impact on the state of democracy in the region.” The essay also criticizes the response to these developments by the United States and Europe. The United States “has oscillated between sharp criticism that lacked strategic grounding and an approach that effectively ignores violations of democratic standards,” according to the report.
For more information on the state of freedom and democracy in the former Soviet Union, visit:
Freedom in the World 2011
Freedom of the Press 2010
Nations in Transit 2011
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. (August 19, 2011)