By Joshua Kucera 7/01/09
The countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia experienced a decline in their democratic development in 2008, according to a report issued June 30 by the American watchdog group Freedom House. Nearly every country in the region saw its rankings drop in Freedom House’s Nations in Transit 2009 report, according to numerical measurements that the organization developed to try to quantify democratization in several crucial areas, including civil society development, independent media, elections and corruption. Azerbaijan experienced the largest decline among the 29 post-communist countries that Freedom House examined. Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan for the first time joined the ranks of the "consolidated authoritarian regimes," joining every other post-Soviet Central Asian state in that category, along with Russia, Azerbaijan and Belarus.
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