Guardian: The temple of liberty totters

Many former Soviet nations lost on the road to democracy. And it looks like, nobody cared. This was announced today writes Peter Preston in the newspaper The Guardian.

We are so used to Silvio Berlusconi, which have even stopped to wonder. What? New Italian law banning listen to telephone conversations Prime Minister and his cronies? After all, their "private life" is much more important than anything else, what's going on on the dark side of social life? What? New draconian conditions that do not allow newspapers to fully and completely describe the case before it gets to court — and it does not get there, as the law of "private life" and close it there to prevent? And Italian journalists covering the anger and despair.

Here at the weakest spot of the temple of European democracy reappeared crack. But there are worse problems. Berlusconi is not alone. And, indeed, if to look around EU countries,

It is time to stop and catch your breath.

and then beyond, everywhere you can see as the trees of those temples. Twenty years ago, we were struggling to bring democratic freedoms to countries on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Ten years ago we were struggling to establish law and order in Iraq. Ten minutes ago, we fought and died for the same thing in Afghanistan. Then it is time to stop and catch your breath.

A few days later the Hungarian Parliament finally voted for a new "Council on the media" — a body that brings together radio, television, and all means of telecommunication and put them under the rule of a single leader who would have meant the government and the working group, which in turn, will be appointed by the same parliament (which does everything it says the government).

Freedom House, an American research group, which measures the quality of democracy in the world, has just published a report on the "nations in transition", which examines the state of the 29 states that are looking for the best roads after the fall of communism.

They are stuck, or even rolling back.

Unfortunately, it seems that many of them do not move anywhere. They are stuck, or even rolling back — in fourteen countries, the situation has worsened in 2009 compared with the previous year, six of these countries are part of the European Union. This is Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia (which is the last, as it seems that there is a problem with the independence of the judiciary).

The first catches the eye, maybe it is not Europe, but rather the former Soviet republics are now independent states, with the exception of the Baltic States. In eight of these post-Soviet countries have had and probably will continue in the future, in the words of Freedom House, «consolidated authoritarian regimes", in other words, a dictatorship. 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union's 221 million people — 80% of the former country's population — do not have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms that would deserve the name.

Russia itself over the last ten years rolled back more than any of its former satellites. Corruption deepens with each passing year, so that "in many ways bribes became a vital component of the system."

Russia bounced back more than any of its former satellites.

And that proper electoral process, civil society, independent media? Zdryganitsesya and turn the page. Nineties, with their promise of hope, are long gone. No one in the West makes speeches about the wonders of democracy treatment. The British returned home from Kabul to 2015? So, if David Cameron gets his way, but do not expect that after their care in Afghanistan established a valid democratic regime. This is yesterday's dream, Bush Bleravski mirage. Today's nightmares are reminded rather of Berlusconi.

Italy is important because it is relatively large and influential country. Hungary is important because it is still remembered for her rebellion against oppression. The other five member countries of the EU are important because they have passed the test for freedom and held her before joined the EU.

They are skidding and slipping backwards, and we do nothing.

Now that they are skidding and slipping backwards, we do nothing. European Union struggled to Europe united around the idea of freedom on the basis of shared aspirations and goals. Democracy — not just some optional addition after, Europe suffered as Hitler and Mussolini, Franco and Salazar. It was the very essence of democracy, a new Europe, with its courts and assemblies. Now what? Berlusconi, in spite of everything, then weaves its merry and messy affair. Bulgaria and Romania are still struggling, not getting any help and moral support. The Czechs and the Poles were frozen in indecision.

And yet it seems that all this does not bother anyone. It seems that we have a wave of his hand on idealism, shrug their shoulders when he saw repression, and go to the other side of the street.

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