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You're reading: Is Ukraine free?

Which is the most free country in the Commonwealth of Independent States? Can we say confidently that it is Ukraine? Or how about a new pretender to that crown – Moldova?

There are many ways to measure freedom, some more objective than others. As I noted in a recent blog on human rights, one can often get a feel for the degree of freedom in a country as soon as one arrives at the airport. But such impressions are inevitably subjective.

That makes the Freedom in the World 2011 Survey, produced by U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House, an important document. The survey attempts to form an objective assessment, giving countries scores of between 1 (good) and 7 (bad) for political rights and civil liberties respectively, producing a potential top score of 2 and a potential bottom score of 14. It then groups countries into Free (scoring 2-5 points); Partly Free (6-10); and Not Free (11-14). In 2005 Ukraine became the first, and so far the only, CIS country which Freedom House classed as Free, with a score of 5 for the period 2005-10.

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