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    US NGO Says Liberties Decline in Russia, Political Rights Grow in Ukraine

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    The number of countries categorized as "not free" has nearly doubled since 2005, with 51 countries receiving this classification in 2014. The report categorized political freedom and civil liberties in Ukraine as "partly free" with a score of 3 on a 7-point scale.

    MOSCOW, January 28 (Sputnik) — Civil liberties in Russia declined in 2014, while political rights in Ukraine grew, the annual global freedom report published Wednesday by US-based nongovernmental organization Freedom House showed.

    "Russia's civil liberties rating declined… due to expanded media controls, a dramatically increased level of propaganda on state-controlled television, and new restrictions on the ability of some citizens to travel abroad," the report states.

    Against the backdrop of a "disturbing" near-decade decline in freedom across the globe, the number of countries categorized as "not free" has nearly doubled since 2005, with 51 countries receiving this classification in 2014, with African nations featuring most prominently.

    "More aggressive tactics by authoritarian regimes and an upsurge in terrorist attacks contributed to a disturbing decline in global freedom in 2014," the overview to the Freedom in the World 2015 report said.

    The report categorized political freedom and civil liberties in Ukraine as "partly free" with a score of 3 on a 7-point scale, with 1 being the worst possible status of freedom.

    "Ukraine's political rights ratings rose… due to improvements in political pluralism, parliamentary elections, and government transparency following the departure of President Viktor Yanukovych," the report says.

    The Ukrainian crisis has become a sticking point in Western countries' relations with Russia over the past year. The United States, European Union and a number of other countries did not recognize the results of Crimea's referendum on its reunification with Russia, accused Moscow of interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs and imposed a series of sanctions against Russia.

    Russia has repeatedly denied its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, stressing that sanctions are counterproductive and hurt not only the target country, but also countries that impose them.

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