Ukraine's Freedom Status Decline Represents Major Setback For Region's Democracy, Says Freedom House

WASHINGTON, DC -- Freedom House has downgraded Ukraine's status from "free" to "partly free" in its annual Freedom in the World report.

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America hols a demonstration in front of the Ukraine's mission to the U.N. in New York on September 22, 2010 to protest against the government's actions towards press freedom and historical memory of the country.

The events in Ukraine in 2010 caused it to fall from "free" to "partly free", Freedom House said in its annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, posted on the organization's Web site on Thursday.

"Viktor Yanukovych, whose fraudulent electoral victory in 2004 had been overturned by the Orange Revolution, won the presidency on his second attempt in early 2010. He then oversaw a deterioration in press freedom, state efforts to curb student activism, intimidation of NGOs, local elections that were almost universally derided as neither free nor fair, and indications of increased executive influence over the judiciary," the document reads.

According to the organization, Ukraine had previously been the only country in the non-Baltic former Soviet Union to earn a "free" designation, and its decline represents a major setback for democracy in the region.

Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights.

It publishes an annual report assessing the degree of perceived democratic freedoms in each country, which is used in political science research.

Source: Sinoptik