Nations in Transit 2015

As the war in Ukraine makes clear, democratization in post communist Europe and Eurasia is not simply slow or stalled. It is actively opposed by forces that are determined to see it fail.

Findings of the 2015 edition of Nations in Transit (NIT), Freedom House’s annual study of democratic governance in 29 countries from Central Europe to Central Asia, underscore the growing audacity of democracy’s foes in Eurasia, where 4 in 5 people live under authoritarian rule.

Key findings:

  1. Of the 29 countries assessed for 2014, 13 were rated as democracies, 6 as transitional regimes, and 10 as authoritarian regimes.
  2. Russia earned its largest ratings decline in a decade in 2014, as the Kremlin stepped up suppression of dissent at home while seeking to destabilize the new government in Ukraine.
  3. As in each of the previous 10 years, the average democracy score declined in 2014, with 12 countries suffering downgrades.
  4. Following the collapse of Viktor Yanukovych’s corrupt presidency, and two rounds of well-administered, competitive elections, Ukraine received four ratings improvements for 2014.
  5. Four out of seven countries registered declines in the Balkans, with journalists in a precarious situation and stalling judicial reforms.
  6. Hungary, driving the decline in Central and Eastern Europe, was demoted from “consolidated democracy” to “semi-consolidated democracy.” The demotion came after seven straight years of score declines.

Freedom House 2015