In its latest report, Freedom House deemed 2018 the 13th consecutive year of global democratic decline. Unfortunately, Belarus is not an exception to the rule.
Of the 195 countries assessed, 86 were rated free, 59 partly free, and 50 not free.
The annual study measured ‘freedom’ by markers such as free and fair elections, political pluralism, participation, free and independent media, freedom of expression and assembly, etc.
Released on February 5, the report criticizes Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Serbia, Hungary, and three former Soviet republics for the persisent global freedom decline.
“The pattern is consistent and ominous. Democracy is in retreat.”
Syria, South Sudan, Eritrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea got the lowest positions in the ranking. The best scorers are Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands.
The countries that made notable positive changes included Armenia, Ethiopia and Iraq, while the dramatic declines were recorded in Hungary and Nicaragua.
On a 100-point scale, Belarus was given an unchanged democracy score of 6.61. Several changes that took place in 2018 and affected the score were highlighted.
- National Democratic Government rating declined from 6.50 to 6.75 due to the repressive measures by the authorities to stem social protests in the spring of 2017.
- Corruption rating improved from 6.25 to 6.00. This is due to an increase in the number of criminal charges against low and midlevel officials. None of the cases were recognized as politically motivated.
Belarus’ neighbors Lithuania, Latvia and Poland were classified as ‘free’ countries, Ukraine – ‘partly free’ and Russia as ‘not free’. Democratic freedoms in the U.S. were said are under attack because of the actions of President Donald Trump.