In terms of democratization, most of the post-Soviet states in the Caucasus and Central Asia remain stuck in the mud, according to an annual survey issued by US-based advocacy organization Freedom House. The exception to the rule in 2010 was Kyrgyzstan, which was deemed to have registered modest democratization gains.
Freedom House marked the publication of its annual Freedom in the World report at a January 13 event in Washington, DC. The report's chief author, Arch Puddington, said that the former Soviet Union saw “modest signs of hope” in 2010. But Puddington stressed that the overall progress of the region was still poor, which he blamed on “the Putinization of Russia.”
“When the leading power in the region is moving aggressively in the authoritarian category, projecting its influence beyond its borders and providing diplomatic cover for the authoritarian countries in its periphery, and which is aggressive in various ways with the democratic countries on its periphery, then that has an influence,” Puddington said.
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Joshua Kucera is a freelance writer focusing on security issues. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.