Freedom House: Moldova resists geopolitical tensions, but doesn’t shine

In the terms of the U.S. foundation Freedom House, which for about 30 years has been compiling annual reports on the state of democracy in the countries of the former socialist camp, Moldova is a “hybrid regime”, IPN reports.

However,  the Foundation’s report for 2024 shows that Moldova, along with Ukraine and Kosovo, in the “hybrid” area sees strengthening democracy indices. In the same area there are Georgia, Hungary and Serbia, but in these countries the democracy indices go down.

The study says that hybrid regimes were caught between the democratic and autocratic blocs, with some on a clearly antidemocratic trajectory. In this large and heterogenous group of 11 countries, five experienced an overall decline in their Democracy Scores, and just one—Ukraine—managed to achieve an improvement.

In the report, countries are rated from 1 (authoritarian regime) to 7 (consolidated democracy). The categories observed are national democratic governance (national institutions); election; citizenship; media; local institutions; the judiciary; fight against corruption.

With 4.54 out of 7 points – the first improvement in its rating since 2016 – Bulgaria is among the only five countries with improving positions, alongside Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

Of these five, only Romania and Bulgaria are described by Freedom House as “semi-consolidated democracies”, Slovenia and Lithuania are in the category of “consolidated democracies”, while Ukraine is a “hybrid regime”.

Together with Romania, Croatia and Poland, Bulgaria is a “semi-consolidated democracy” because in the special index it has between 4.01 and 5 units. The “consolidated democracies” (between 5.01 and 7) are the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Baltic countries. In the EU, only Hungary is a “hybrid regime” (between 3.01 and 4), along with non-EU Balkan countries, together with Ukraine and Moldova.

Ukraine’s intention to build a robust democracy faces an existential threat from Moscow. The 2014 “revolution of dignity” and the Russian invasion that followed prompted a dramatic transformation of governance as old corruption systems were removed by new reformers. Moscow’s full-scale invasion in 2022, instead of halting the process, intensified it in some areas. In 2023, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government took steps to improve the effectiveness of Ukrainian courts and anti-corruption bodies, and showed to be promising in investigating corruption in the judiciary and the military.

Moldova is democratizing in the face of similar obstacles. It, too, struggles with a legacy of corrupt oligarchs, and Russian troops have long occupied part of its territory. Some representatives of the oligarchy, including the famous US-sanctioned Ilan Shor, are supported by illicit financing from the Kremlin and, as accusations of an attempted coup in 2023 demonstrate, pose a real threat to the stability of the country. In an effort to solve the problem, the authorities implemented legislation that removed candidates affiliated with Shor from local elections just days before the vote.

Like Ukraine, Moldova must resist the temptation to violate democratic norms in search of long-term democratic orientation if it wants to get out of the “gray zone” of hybrid governance, concluded Freedom House.

Вы используете модуль ADS Blocker .
IPN поддерживается от рекламы.
Поддержи свободную прессу!
Некоторые функции могут быть заблокированы, отключите модуль ADS Blocker .
Спасибо за понимание!
Команда IPN.