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Freedom House says Georgia has increased in its level of democracy

By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, June 25
Georgia has made significant improvements in the level of democracy, Freedom House said in its recent report Democracy on the Defensive in Europe and Eurasia.

Georgia is the only country in Eurasia to have earned a recent improvement in the electoral process rating. Free and more competitive elections in 2012 and 2013 led to increased pluralism at the national level, and in 2014 Georgian cities held direct mayoral elections for the first time, with five major parties actively campaigning for seats. However, the ruling Georgian Dream bloc won every directly elected mayoral seat and majority control over every legislature.” The report says.

According to Freedom House, Georgia managed to overcome Russian threats and signed the Association Agreement (AA) and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the European Union. Georgia and Ukraine remain the best performers among the countries in Eurasia which are transitioning into democratic states.

The report rates examined country’s democracy level and regime from 1 to 7. Georgia was rated as a transitioning country and received 4.64 points, which means the country’s rating has improved by 0.04 points in 2014.

The report revealed that Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which received the lowest scores, leave a lot to be concerned about and these countries were consolidated authoritarian regimes.

“In 2014, Russia earned its largest ratings decline in a decade, reflecting the fact that Moscow’s aggression abroad is closely tied to the Putin regime’s domestic struggle for survival. As it sought to destabilize the new democratic government in Ukraine, the Kremlin stepped up its suppression of dissent at home, targeting online media, opposition figures, and civil society groups with legal bans on “extremism,” trumped-up criminal charges, and other restrictions,” the report says.

“Eurasia’s authoritarian regimes tirelessly warn their people that moving toward democracy - as seen in Ukraine - can only end in chaos, violence, and poverty. To prove them wrong, it is imperative that the EU and its allies provide substantially more financial and political support for the development of a successful democracy in Ukraine. This is clearly an adversarial process, and advocates of democracy cannot prevail if they are unwilling to fight harder for their goals,” said Sylvana Habdank-Kolaczkowska, project director of Nations in Transit.

According to Freedom House the number of “consolidated authoritarian regimes” has nearly doubled and Eurasia’s average democracy score has fallen from 5.4 to 6.03 on a 7-point scale. since 2000 when the first report of the same type was published.