Freedom House: Belarus is “worst of the worst” in freedom rating
According to Freedom House's annual report, Belarus is identified as “the worst of the worst” in political and civil liberties alongside with China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan and a number of African despotic regimes.
Belarus's freedom index is 6.5, index of political liberties is 7, index of civil liberties is 6, Radio Svaboda reports.
Russia and Kazakhstan are in the group of “not free” countries. Russia's indexes are 6, 6, and 6, Kazakhstan's ones are 5.5, 6 and 5. Belarus's other neighbours, except for Russia, are called "free": Poland (1, 1, 1), Lithuania (1, 1, 1), Latvia (2, 2, 2) and Ukraine (3, 3, 3).
Russia's invasion of Ukraine was a bad blow to democracy in 2014, according to Freedom House.
The US-based organisation, which conducts researches to support democracy, political freedom and human rights, notes that an upsurge in terrorist attacks and increasingly aggressive tactics used by authoritarian regimes had contributed to "a growing disdain for democratic standards" in nearly all regions of the world.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the outright seizure and formal annexation of Crimea” was one of the most blatant examples of the rejection of democratic standards, according to the report.
Freedom House notes that Ukraine's positive gains "related to the ouster of corrupt president Viktor Yanukovych” were offset by Russia's annexation of Crimea and ongoing fighting between government forces and Russian-backed separatists in the country's east.
Ukraine is rated as “partly free”. As for Crimea, which was occupied by Russia, the situation there is slightly better than in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the leaders in the “non free” group.
Freedom House is an international non-government organisation that conducts researches to promote democracy, political freedom and human rights. It became known due to it surveys of political and civil liberties it has been publishing since 1978.