Russia acquires many characteristics of a dictatorship after the serious deterioration that the country has suffered in the last year and that has led it to experience the largest drop internationally in the 2022 Democracy Index published by the British magazine The Economist.
"Russia recorded the biggest drop in score of any country in the world in 2022. Its invasion of Ukraine was accompanied by a complete crackdown and censorship within the country. Russia has been on a trajectory away from democracy for a long time and is now taking on many of the characteristics of a dictatorship."explained the analysts of the medium in their annual report.
That deterioration plummeted from 124th place in the 2021 index to 146th this year out of 167 total.
The Democracy Index demoted Russia in 2011 from a "hybrid regime" still "authoritarian regime".
The Belarusian regime of President Alexandr Lukashenko, Russia’s main ally and political and logistical supporter of Russia’s war in Ukraine, fell seven places to 153rd.
The Economist stresses that a logical consequence of the war waged by Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin for a year is "a sharp increase in state repression against all forms of dissent and further personalization of power, pushing Russia towards outright dictatorship".
Stresses that the greater concentration of power in the hands of President Putin "has further undermined the legitimacy of the constitutional mechanisms for the transfer of power, which began with the constitutional reforms undertaken by the regime in 2020"which also allow the president to run twice more for the Presidency and remain in power until 2036.
According to the report, the biggest setback in Russia occurs in the categories of political participation and civil liberties.
The magazine indicates that the regime drastically restricted civil liberties after the invasion of Ukraine, "further suppressing dissenting voices and eradicating the last remnants of any opposition or critical media".
"Anyone who participates in any form of protest, however small, risks not only a beating but also a long prison sentence."underline.
The Economist also refers to the restrictions imposed in Russia on the use of the Internet and the expansion of lists of "foreign agents" that include NGOs, media and personalities and that have forced many dissidents to leave the country.
It further asserts that Russia, by extending government control over the economy and private property, introducing more repressive measures, mobilizing broader sections of society to fight back in Ukraine, and expanding state coercion beyond the usual suspects, "the Kremlin has effectively broken the unwritten social contract of recent decades".
In spite of everything, the analysts defended that "it would be wrong to suggest that Russians are immune to democracy".
"Russians have been brought up in the harsh school of obedience to the state and political passivity under various authoritarian regimes. But at times they have shown that they, too, share basic human aspirations for freedom and control over their destiny."notes The Economist.
"Such aspirations cannot be extinguished even under the harshest of dictatorships. It is up to the Russians to find their own path to democracy, in opposition to an increasingly dictatorial regime that is waging war abroad and inflicting repression at home."he concludes.