The year Belarus has improved its status in the fight against corruption but the situation with democracy freedom deteriorated, according to Freedom House latest research.
Still not free…
The international NGO Freedom House assessed democracy, political freedom, and human rights in the countries of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe.
This year saw the democracy score drop in 19 out of 24 countries. The greatest decline was observed in Hungary and Poland.
In 2018, Hungary recorded the largest decline by all parametres in the project’s 23-year history.
All Belarus neighbours – Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia – are also on the list of countries which saw a drop in democracy scores.
Tight grip on power
Belarus’s political rights and fight against corruption rating improved, but worsened in national democratic governance.
“In Eurasia’s entrenched autocracies – Belarus, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan – personalized regimes keep a tight grip on power, suppressing political competition and targeting independent activists and journalists who dare to speak out,” the report reads.
Backsliding across the region
Experts believe that is due to the consolidation of democratic institutions in the postcommunist countries of Europe that occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s has stalled, and
in important cases, been reversed.
The Democracy Score of every country in Central Europe has declined since 2008, with the biggest setbacks in the media, the judiciary, and the functioning of national democratic institutions like parliaments and presidencies.
The worst indicators of democracy are in Azerbaijan (6.93), Kazakhstan (6.71), Tajikistan (6.79), Turkmenistan (6.96) and Uzbekistan (6.89). Russia received 6.61 scores.
The study measures democracies according to the electoral process, national and local governance, corruption, civil society, media freedom, and an independent judiciary.
It awards scores between 1 and 7, with 1 indicating the best score.