A Comparative Study of the Development of National Press Systems in the Former Soviet Republics of the Baltics, the Caucasus, and Central Asia
The collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991 created hopes for many, both within the crumbling empire’s borders and in the West, that newly independent ex-republics would make a rapid transition to democratic governance and respect for human rights, including a free press and freedom of
expression. Although almost a quarter-century has passed, those expectations have largely failed to materialise in twelve of the fifteen former SSRs, including all those in Central Asia and the Caucasus. We consider these countries to be “repressitarian”— both repressive in human rights practices and authoritarian in governance (Freedman et al., 2010). The three exceptions are the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.