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Survey Says Russian Democracy Had Worst Decline

Russia saw the worst decline in democracy over the past decade than any other post-communist country, according to a survey by Freedom House.

The report released by the Washington-based civil liberties watchdog on Tuesday covered the 29 “transitional” countries of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe.

Russia's "scores on media independence, civil society, the judiciary and electoral process have all suffered," Freedom House said in an overview of the report.

Russian authorities were accused in the survey of trying to control the Internet and limit political competition and dissent, failing to fight corruption and exercising pressure on business.

Freedom House did not register any democratic developments in Russia in 2009.

The report listed 14 dissenters and human rights activists whose deaths in 2009 were linked to their professional activities, including Stanislav Markelov, Natalya Estemirova, Maksharip Aushev and Sergei Magnitsky.

Meanwhile, Belarus and Tajikistan were listed as the only two countries where the media grew freer over the past decade. Belarus and Moldova were praised for positive civil society developments.

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