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Freedom House Criticizes Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan

The rights watchdog Freedom House concludes that as worldwide energy prices have risen, democratic progress has declined in the former Soviet states of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.

Led by Russia, which has enjoyed a surge of oil and natural gas wealth, a new report finds that all three governments have cracked down on personal freedoms and civil society and closed themselves off to outside scrutiny.

The group says in Russia, former President Vladimir Putin experimented with "authoritarian capitalism," muzzled the press, and manipulated the courts so that independent justice is now impossible.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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