According to human rights activists, the level of freedom has dropped in 72 countries, while the situation has improved in 43 ones. The organization also noted the deteriorating situation in Russian-annexed Crimea.
According to the authors of the report, the fear of social unrest pushes the authorities in Russia, China, and other authoritarian regimes to crack down on dissent.
Freedom House also noted that the Crimean Peninsula, which was forcefully occupied by Russia in 2014, was experiencing dramatic failures regarding the observance of democratic norms.
Jennifer Dunham, director of research of Freedom of the Press and Freedom in the World in the Freedom House NGO, pointed out that Russia's "authorities" in Crimea were putting down dissent, including by prohibiting independent media and imposing restrictions against civil society representatives, especially the ones of the Crimean Tatars. She added that many opponents of the Russian occupation of Crimea had been arrested or excluded from the country.
Jennifer Dunham also noted that Ukraine had preserved it's democratic gains achieved after the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, but the further progress in 2015 was slowed down by the armed conflict between the Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas, the debate over decentralization, and confrontation among leading political officials and the country's tycoons.
The international human rights organization Freedom House has noticed an overall decrease in freedom in the world in its reports for the ninth consecutive year.