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The Putin Effect: Erosion of Freedom

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM) promotes cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and free speech.



Freedom House lists Russia as "not free" in its annual report, Global Erosion of Freedom 2009. The report, which looks at the freedom of the political system and the civic society around the world, notes that the situation in Russia worsened.

Arch Puddington, Freedom House's director of research and one of the authors of the report, said the steady erosion of political rights and civil liberties in Russia was a consequence of what he called the "Putin effect."

"We see a decline in political conditions in a number of countries in the Russian neighborhood, and we see that as having been in part driven by Putin's diplomacy." Puddington said most of the countries in the region are following the Russian model.

"Countries like Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are strongly influenced by Russia; they have political systems that are quite similar to Russia's. We will see Russia influencing the democratic direction of the whole region for decades to come," Puddington said.



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