Estonia Ranks Top on Human Rights in 2004, While Russia Hits the Bottom–“Not Free”

The 2005 Freedom House global survey on human rights in 192 countries ranks Estonia among the top countries that provide maximum political rights and civil liberties to its citizens, while Russia was downgraded from “Partly Free” to “Not Free” nation.

The survey gave Estonia a rating of 1.0–the highest possible rating. Latvian received a rating of 1.5 and Lithuania of 2.0.

Russia status fell from Partly Free to Not Free because of the flawed nature of the country’s parliamentary election December 2003 and the presidential elections in 2004, the further consolidation of state control of the media, and the imposition of official curbs on opposition political parties and groups.

Russian Not Free category is the culmination of a growing trend under President Vladimir Putin to concentrate political authority, harass and intimidate the media, and politicize the country’s law-enforcement system,” said Freedom House executive Director, Jennifer Windsor. These moves mark a dangerous and disturbing drift toward authoritarianism in Russia,” concluded Windsor.

Freedom House has published an annual assessment of the state of freedom in call countries (and selected territories) now know as Freedom in the World since 1972. since 1972. Each countries is assigned a rating for political rights and a rating for civil liberties based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest degree of freedom present.

The 2005 report reflects political developments between December 1, 2003 and November 30, 2004.