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You're reading: People First: The latest in the watch on Ukrainian democracy

Ukrainian democracy takes a nosedive

The 2011 Democracy Index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit holds Ukraine in 79th place out of 167 countries; a 12 rank drop from 2010. The index is based on indicators categorised into five key areas: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture. Ranked countries are rated from full democracies to flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.
Ukraine’s 2010 and 2006 positions, 67th and 52nd respectively, placed Ukraine among the world’s flawed democracies. The 79th position on the current index means Ukraine is now a hybrid regime. Russia, though possessing a lower overall 2010 position of 107th, has experienced a drop in 2011 to 117th, which, although not as severe a fall as Ukraine’s 2011 result, secures Russia’s position in the authoritarian regimes category.
British experts have stated that support for democracy within the population has fallen in Ukraine as well as in 10 other Eastern European countries. Ukraine seems o have undone many of the democratic achievements brought about by the Orange Revolution, such as free elections, free mass media and an unprejudiced attitude among the authorities towards opposition. The sentencing and imprisonment of Ukrainian ex-Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko is considered an example of abusing the judicial system to promote political interests(2). If this trend continues Ukraine is bound join the category of authoritarian regimes along side Russia, Nigeria, Jordan, Morocco and Ethiopia.

People First Comment: Not only has Ukraine fallen 12 places in the 2011 Democracy Index, it is in the unenviable position of recording the 6th highest fall in all the 128 countries surveyed as the following table indicates.

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