When it comes to democratization, the Caucasus and Central Asia are headed in different directions. Countries and territories in the Caucasus received better grades on political and civil rights over the past year, while Central Asia reinforced its reputation as one of the more repressive places in the world, according to an annual survey compiled by the watchdog group Freedom House.
In its report “Freedom in the World 2013,” released January 16, Freedom House noted that political rights improved in Armenia, Georgia, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Georgia upgraded its status to “electoral democracy” as a result of “the country’s first peaceful handover of power to an opposition party after parliamentary elections that were judged free and fair by international observers and featured more pluralistic media coverage,” the report stated.
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Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC-based writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.