The authoritarian countries of the former Soviet Union have built governance systems that are resistant to reform and therefore increasingly vulnerable to unpredictable crises of the sort recently seen in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a new study released by Freedom House.
Posts Tagged ‘ freedom ’
When the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, we on the other side of the Wall felt far more hope than you can imagine. Yes, there was fear and confusion as well, but thanks to the courage of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and others who followed them, hundreds of millions of people had the opportunity to grasp the freedom that the western world takes for granted. It was a great moment in world history and those leaders who did not forget about us will in turn never be forgotten by us.
For those who do not follow events in Russia, that is often where the story ends.
Ukraine, which has consistently been one of the best performers in its subregion in recent years, also saw an erosion of media freedom, falling from 53 to 56 points. After proRussian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych took office as president in February, broadcast frequencies were withdrawn from critical outlets and extralegal harassment of journalists increased, leading to greater self-censorship
One year into Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency, Ukraine has experienced a disturbing decline in democratic practices and human rights that, if unchecked, threatens a return to the authoritarianism of the country’s pre-Orange Revolution period, according to a special report [PDF] — Sounding the Alarm: Protecting Democracy in Ukraine — released today by Freedom House.
In our view, there is no question that President Yanukovych has onsolidated power at the expense of democratic development… The negative effects have included a more restrictive environment for the media, selective prosecution of opposition figures, worrisome instances of intrusiveness by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), widely criticized local elections in October 2010, a pliant parliament (Verkhovna Rada), and an erosion of basic freedoms of assembly and speech. Corruption remains a huge drain on the country, and there is significant room for the situation to get even worse.
Over the past 15 years Ukraine has certainly become a much freer nation than many of its former Soviet neighbors. Yet, as this year’s events have demonstrated, the point of no return in the transition toward a sustainable democracy has not been passed. Elements of authoritarian culture are still preserved inside a number of institutions, notably, the security sector. There are powerful forces in the region working to undo the nascent democracy. The latter’s very institutional structure is as yet too incomplete to be immune from these challenges.
However there was a solution to be found where least expected. Ukraine was saved by civic activists and the Internet. This is the story of the website “Maidan” and the group involved in it. It is the story of the democratic evolution of Ukraine.
The highest manifestation of human freedom is when you act precisely because you really have no other choice, because there is no other road.
WE HAVE TO! Stand up and get out there – this is the instinct of survival and self-preservation (but not to be confused with Darwin’s instinct since) this is self-preservation AS A HUMAN BEING, and not some kind of cattle. This is no heroism which attains a sublime level, but a struggle for a minimum living standard of personal DIGNITY, after crossing the border of some kind of “you aren’t you, and you’re not a living person, but only a memory …”
On July 7, a representative of Maidan Alliance filed his first formal lawsuit against the President of Ukraine. This was done after the President had failed to provide a mandatory reply to a request of information regarding terms of de-classifying the so-called “secret ordinances” of the government. If the Ukrainian powers-that-be continue to ignore legitimate questions from human rights activists, they run the risk of getting a surge of lawsuits from those who supported Yushchenko at polls and on the streets.