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30 Mar 22

We are living through a democratic recession. The Russian government’s unprovoked, unilateral invasion of Ukraine has turned a spotlight on authoritarians’ increasingly brazen repression at home and abroad. For 16 consecutive years, Freedom House has tracked declining political rights and civil liberties around the world, in autocracies like China, Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela, as well as traditionally robust democracies like Poland, India and the United States. The trend accelerated in 2021, with more than twice as many countries suffering democratic decline than experiencing improvement. Europe, America, and the world are more interconnected than ever as allies and trading partners, and Putin’s violent disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty and stability should be a warning to democracies everywhere. Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, addresses the urgency of protecting democracy, particularly in light of the ongoing battle for Ukraine’s freedom. He makes the case that defending democracy and combating authoritarianism is a responsibility shared by all free nations and explores how Europe and the US can—and must—work together to address the strategic challenge posed by democratic decay and resurgent authoritarianism.

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