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Freedom House: Ukraine on democratic path amid rising authoritarianism in region

by Martin Fornusek April 11, 2024 9:44 AM 2 min read
People hold a giant Ukrainian flag during a demonstration on February 23, 2014 in Warsaw supporting the new government of the Ukraine, after ousted president Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev to escape retribution for a week of deadly carnage. (Wojtek Radwanski/AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine is one of the few among the group of 29 countries evaluated by Freedom House in the Nations in Transit 2024 report that is moving successfully toward democracy amid growing anti-democratic trends.

Freedom House's latest report on the countries from Central Europe to Central Asia concluded that the democratic governance in the region has been in decline consecutively for the 20th year, with only some exceptions.

Ukraine is one of them, as it is the only nation in the "hybrid regime" group that saw an improvement, while the ratings of five other members of the group declined. Four other countries whose democratic governance ratings have improved are already democracies, further contributing to the polarization of the two groups.

The U.S.-based human rights think tank said that the hybrid regimes, that is, countries with both democratic and authoritarian characteristics, are increasingly forced to choose between a bloc of Euro-Atlantic democracies and a bloc of consolidated authoritarian regimes.

"The resurgence of armed conflict has effectively accelerated a geopolitical reordering that was already underway," Freedom House's report read.

"Moscow's war to destroy Ukraine and the Azerbaijani regime's military conquest and ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh laid bare the deadly consequences of autocracy's expansion."

The stability of the democratic bloc is further compounded by political changes in the U.S., which put its traditional role as the security guarantor in Europe in question.

Democratic countries "will need to build more robust transnational networks of solidarity, security, and action to reverse the gains that authoritarians have made over the last 20 years."

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