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The new paper work with thoughtful title “Is Ukraine free?” written by Leigh Turner – the British Ambassador to Ukraine touches quite a sensitive topic, especially in the CIS region. However, many experts agree that it is exactly because of the recent progress of Ukraine towards political rights freedom and civil liberties such discussions have a right to be! In 2005, many believed that Ukraine experienced a key change in its move to democratic and political prosperity becoming the first, and so far only CIS country which was scored as a free country by the Freedom in the World 2011 Survey produced by US-based non-governmental organisation Freedom House.
The survey attempts to form an objective assessment, giving countries scores of between 1 (good) and 7 (bad) for political rights and civil liberties respectively, producing a potential top score of 2 and a potential bottom score of 14. It then groups countries into Free (scoring 2-5 points); Partly Free (6-10); and Not Free (11-14). In 2005 Ukraine became the first country from former Soviet Union which Freedom House classed as Free, with a score of 5 for the period 2005-10.
According to many experts such a breakthrough in public consciousness and civil rights freedom was possible due to Orange Revolution – a peaceful mass protest against falsified presidential elections. The gains of Orange Revolution spread across various spheres of political and business lives.
With pro-western democratic course Ukraine was able to join World Trade Organization in 2008 and win EURO 2012 host. International experts observed improved socio-economic and legal spheres, media freedom and business regulation. As a result of western-oriented policies and improved investment climate the country saw a warming in relationships with West and increased inflow of economic and investment help from European Union and United States. However, then following Political and Global Financial Crises have made their contribution to challenge young and fragile democracy in the country which resulted in Ukraine’s score slipped by one point to 6 in 2011, placing it in the partly free category, with the same score as Moldova.
Although Ukraine has only slipped one point in the rankings from 2010 to 2011 it is a reminder to Ukrainian government that improvement in political rights and civil liberties are not always linear – explains Leigh Turner British Ambassador to Ukraine. In other words, countries which have achieved gains in freedoms must keep working ceaselessly to maintain them. This is true in Ukraine, the United Kingdom or anywhere else.
“The fact that the country has slipped only one point shows that there is everything still to play for and – I hope – that Ukraine can restore its position in the “Free” category next year” – concludes in his article Mr. Leigh Turner.