Ukraine has regressed to the Leonid Kuchma days, a decade associated more with authoritarianism, lawlessness, crony capitalism and corruption than with democracy.
That is the latest annual assessment of U.S.-based Freedom House, a democracy and human rights watchdog which on Jan. 19 made public results of its annual Freedom in the World report.
Ukraine, according to Freedom House, suffered the deepest regression in democracy of any major country during the past two years. It is the second consecutive year that Freedom House marked a decline in political rights and civil liberties in Ukraine.
Once considered a beacon of democratic hope in mostly autocratic former Soviet republics, Ukraine in 2011 firmly anchored itself in the media “partly-free” category for the second year, the freedom watchdog reported.
“Ukraine suffered a major decline due to President Viktor Yanukovych’s moves to crush the political opposition through a variety of anti-democratic tactics, including the prosecution of opposition political leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko,” Freedom House said.
Despite constant bickering amid a political multilateral stalemate, Ukraine was rated as “free” for the years 2005-2009, which included ex-President Viktor Yushchenko’s term.The annual report said Ukraine’s significant drop from 2010, when it fell into the “partly free” category of nations, is due to the politicized use of courts, a crackdown on media, and the use of force to break up demonstrations.