The American organization FreedomHouse has published two reports about the political situation in Ukraine. The first report was published in April 2011, Sounding the Alarm: Protecting Democracy in Ukraine A Freedom House Report on the State of Democracy and Human Rights in Ukraine. In the report Freedom House warned that Ukraine was heading in the wrong direction on a number of fronts: consolidation of power in the executive branch at the expense of democratic development, a more restrictive environment for the media, selective prosecution of opposition figures, worrisome instances of intrusiveness by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), widely criticized local elections in October 2010, a pliant Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament), an erosion of basic freedoms of assembly and speech, and widening corruption.
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A follow-up report was published July 2012, Sounding the Alarm Round 2: Protecting Democracy in Ukraine. FreedomHouse states that most of those key concerns from last year remain, and “in some cases the problems have grown considerably worse, especially in the area of selective prosecution of opposition figures and corruption”. Still, there are some hope for a change in this year’s elections: “civil society appeared more animated and less dispirited this year compared to last”. The parliamentary elections scheduled for October offer a critical test for the government to demonstrate its commitment to democratic principles, comments Freedom House.
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