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Many of us remember when the Berlin Wall fell – the celebratory atmosphere, the cheers, the singing, the hammering, the fireworks – and most of all the promise of freedom. On the 25th anniversary we thought we'd look at Freedom House's rankings of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics to see how those liberated countries have actually fared.
Eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have all done very well, although countries like Albania and Bosnia/Herzegovina do need improvement with scores of "partly free."
Of the 15 former Soviet Republics; however, only three countries – the Baltic States – received an overall score of "free". Five received were "partly free," but seven received a score of "not free."
Twelve of the 15 countries do not have an entirely free press. In fact, only North Korea has less press freedom than Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan! Most received poor scores on civil liberties and political rights. And finally, only six of the 15 countries can be considered electoral democracies at all, according to the most recent data.
Twenty-five years from now, let's hope we see an improved picture – one worthy of the feeling we all had on that day.