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Russia a 'Top 5' Loser on Peace

Russia has become a lot less peaceful country because of unrest associated with the economic crisis and the aftermath of the 2008 war with Georgia, according to an international peace index released Tuesday.

The 2010 Global Peace Index, compiled by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics & Peace, placed Russia among the last 10 countries in its annual rating and declared it as one of the “top-five fallers.”? 

Russia ranked 143rd out of 149 countries, wedged between Georgia at 142nd and Israel at 144th. The list was topped by New Zealand, while Iraq came in last. ? 

Last year, Russia was ranked 136th out of 144 nations.

The “ripple effect” of the five-day war in which Russia routed Georgia's military in August 2008 contributed to Russia's deteriorating rating, but so did internal factors, including those related to the economic downturn.

"Violent demonstrations were adjudged to have become more likely in Russia last year in comparison with the previous year," the report said.

Other key factors included outbreaks of violence in the North Caucasus, the bombing of the Nevsky Express train in November and permanently high rates of homicide and violent crime per capita.

Russia also has "more heavy weapons per head of population than most of the 149 countries surveyed" and is a prominent arms exporter, the report said.

Georgia was also named one of the “top-five fallers” along with Cyprus, the Philippines and Syria.

The Global Peace Index, which used data from the Economist Intelligence Unit, is calculated on the basis of several dozen indicators such as the number of armed services personnel, the numbers of violent demonstrations and conflicts with neighboring states, and the situation with human rights.

The index said the world has become “slightly less peaceful,” mainly because of the consequences of the economic crisis.

Some experts questioned the report's objectivity.

Alexander Khramchikhin, a senior analyst at the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, said the rating is subjective and cannot be regarded seriously.

"It is true that the standard of life is low in Russia, but those ratings don't reflect it," he said.

Russian officials made no immediate comment about the index, but they have complained in previous years that similar surveys are biased against Russia.

The United States ranked 85th, down from 83rd last year, and the United Kingdom, or Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was ranked 31st, up from 35th last year.

Most Peaceful Countries

Top 10

1 New Zealand
2 Iceland
3 Japan
4 Austria
5 Norway
6 Ireland
7 Denmark
8 Luxembourg
9 Finland
10 Sweden

Bottom 10

140 Democratic Republic of the Congo
141 Chad
142 Georgia
143 Russia
144 Israel
145 Pakistan
146 Sudan
147 Afghanistan
148 Somalia
149 Iraq

Source: Global Peace Index

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