ArmInfo.As a deadly pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict devastated the world in 2020, the defenders of democracy have suffered further heavy toll in their struggle against authoritarian enemies, shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny. This is stated in the report "Freedom in the world - 2021: Democracy under siege" by the international organization Freedom House.
For example, the report notes that incumbent state leaders increasingly used force to crush opponents and settle scores, sometimes in the name of public health, while besieged activists - without effective international support - faced harsh prison sentences, torture or murder in many situations. ...
"These crushing blows marked the 15th consecutive year of global freedom declines. "- write the analyst of the organization, adding that almost 75 percent of the world's population lived in countries where recorded deterioration of freedom last year.
The organization's experts write that the expansion of authoritarian rule, combined with the fading and inconsistent presence of major democracies in the international arena, has had tangible consequences for the lives and security of people, including the frequent use of military force to resolve political disputes. "The leaders of Ethiopia and Azerbaijan last year unleashed wars in the regions of Tigray and Nagorno- Karabakh, respectively, relying on the support of authoritarian neighbors Eritrea and Turkey, thus destabilizing the surrounding areas. The aftermath of hostilities shattered hopes for pilot reforms in Armenia, which entered conflict with the Azerbaijani regime because of Nagorno-Karabakh, "the Freedom House report says.
In the context of the changing international balance, the specialists of the international organization again touched upon the events in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, noting that another symptom of the global decline of democratic norms was the use of military force by authoritarian states in Nagorno- Karabakh last year.
The organization's experts recalled that new hostilities broke out in September 2020, when the Azerbaijani regime, with the strong support of Turkey, launched an offensive with the aim of settling the territorial dispute, which has not been resolved through diplomatic means with Armenia over the years.
"At least 6,500 military and hundreds of civilians were killed, and tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. There was no significant international participation and the war ended only when Moscow imposed a peacekeeping plan on both sides, fixing the territorial gains of the Azerbaijani armed forces. but leaving many other questions unanswered, "- stated in Freedom House.
At the same time, analysts add that the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh had an impact on democracy. According to them, the conflict not only strengthened the power of the authoritarian President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, but also threatens to destabilize the power in Armenia.
Freedom House assures that improvements in freedom in Armenia began to appear after the Velvet Revolution of 2018, when citizens also voted for a government more reform-oriented. "But Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's surrender in the war sparked a violent reaction among some of his opponents, who stormed parliament in November and attacked the speaker of parliament. Such a mess threatens the country's hard-won progress and could provoke a chain of events that will bring Armenia closer to autocrats. the tendencies of its neighbors, "the experts of the international human rights organization are convinced.
Thus, according to the Freedom-2021 scale of the organization, Armenia is on the 55th line, joining the partly free countries, and located between Kosovo and Nepal. Neighboring Azerbaijan and Iran, ranked as non-free countries, ranked 10th and 16th, respectively. Turkey is the 32nd line in the list of not free states. The best of all is in Georgia, which is considered a free country. It is located at 60th position.
Armenia's partners in the EAEU are not optimistic. So, all of them are ranked as non-free states with the following results: Belarus - 11th place, Kazakhstan - 23rd place, Kyrgyzstan -28, Russia - 20.
Freedom House, in its annual Freedom in the World report, assesses people's access to political rights and civil liberties in 210 countries and territories. Individual freedoms - from the right to vote to freedom of expression and equality before the law - can be affected by state or non-state actors.