He said this in an interview with Voice of Americacommenting on the organization's report regarding the state offreedom in the world, in which Ukraine is deemed as a country withthe greatest deterioration over the past fiveyears.
Kramer noted that Ukraine's rating has been dropping forseveral reasons.
"First, the parliamentary elections, which have beencritically evaluated by OSCE observers. Continuing problems withcorruption, selective prosecution of political opponents. YuliaTymoshenko and Yurii Lutsenko are still in prison, and there is noindication that they may be released. But, in general, we believethat corruption is the biggest problem in Ukraine," saidKramer.
In turn, the vice-president of Freedom House, ResearchArch Puddington noted that there is also pressure on journalistsand civil society: "Although I do not want to exaggerate -Ukrainian media is freer than in neighboring countries, and civilsociety is able to resist some of Yanukovych's initiatives. But weare concerned about how the rule of law is no longer in effect inYanukovych's time."
He noted that while the influence of Russia is cited as afactor in the deterioration of freedom in the Eurasian region as awhole, Freedom House does not see "the hand of Moscow" in theUkrainian events.
"I do not think that Russia's influence causes thesechanges. This is what Yanukovych wants and he takes fullresponsibility," said Paddington.
According to Kramer the events taking place in Ukrainemake for a unique internal trend.
"Yanukovych and his inner circle are trying to doeverything possible to stay in power. Freedom House is concernedabout possible further decline of the state of freedom in Ukraine,"said Kramer.
"I'm worried about the presidential elections of 2015.The level of corruption in the state leadership is growing, whichmeans that they will be even less inclined to give up power,regardless of whether they win the election or not," hesaid.
However, as noted by the authors of the report, Ukrainediffers from its neighbors in Eurasia by the fact that Ukrainianleaders still care what people abroad think aboutthem.
"When in April of last year, Freedom House went toUkraine to make an assessment, we received a lot of attention atthe highest level, including an hour and a half meeting I had withPresident Yanukovych," said Kramer.
Paddington added that the Ukrainian government officialsare interested in the results of studies FreedomHouse.
"They talked quite frankly to us. Some of them privatelyexpress disagreement with Yanukovych, particularly concerning theimprisonment of Tymoshenko. High level officials say they say thatit was not their idea, that they did not support it, but PresidentYanukovych personally insisted on this," saidPaddington.