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Democracy Report 2022

  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 08, Mar 2022
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Why in  News?

  • Recently, the study, titled ‘Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature?’  produced by the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute  at the University of Gothenburg.

About the study 

  • V-Dem produces the largest global dataset on democracy  with over 30 million data points for 202 countries from 1789 to 2021.
  • Involving over 3,700 scholars and other country experts, V-Dem measures hundreds of different  attributes of democracy.
  • V-Dem uses aggregate expert judgments to produce estimates of critical concepts.
  • V-Dem enables new ways to study the nature, causes, and  consequences of democracy embracing its multiple meanings.
  • The Democracy Report 2022 analyzes the evidence from three perspectives.
  • The first part examines  the state of the world in 2021 based on the Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) and the Regimes of the  World (RoW) Index.
  • The second part of the report focuses on countries that are in a process of changing. 
  • The third part presents data on coups, polarisation, and disinformation, all of which signal that the  fundamental dynamics of the current wave of autocratization may be changing


  • V-Dem’s conceptual scheme takes into account not only the electoral dimension (free and fair elections) but also the liberal principle that a democracy must protect “individual and minority rights against both the tyranny of the state and the tyranny of the majority”.
  • The V-Dem report classifies countries into four regime types based on their score in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI): Liberal Democracy, Electoral Democracy, Electoral Autocracy, and Closed Autocracy.
  • The LDI captures both liberal and electoral aspects of a democracy based on 71 indicators that make up the Liberal Component Index (LCI) and the Electoral Democracy Index (EDI).
  •  The LCI measures aspects such as protection of individual liberties and legislative constraints on the executive.
  • The EDI considers indicators that guarantee free and fair elections such as freedom of expression and freedom of association.
  • In addition, the LDI also uses an Egalitarian Component Index (to what extent different social groups are equal), Participatory Component Index (health of citizen groups, civil society organisations), and Deliberative Component Index (whether political decisions are taken through public reasoning focused on common good or through emotional appeals, solidarity attachments, coercion).

Main Findings of the report

  • The level of democracy enjoyed by the average global  citizens in 2021 is down to 1989 levels. 
  • The last 30 years  of democratic advances are now eradicated.
  •  Dictatorships are on the rise and harbour 70% of the  world population – 5.4 billion people.
  • The democratic decline is especially evident in Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as well as in  parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • 2021 comes with a record number of nations autocratizing in the last 50 years – 33 countries home to 36% of the  world population – 2.8 billion people.
  • The EU may be facing its own wave of autocratization –  20% of members are autocratizing.
  • It states that more than twice as many countries (32) are undergoing autocratisation as are witnessing democratisation (15). 
  • Most democratic  regions : Western Europe, North America, and parts of Latin America,  Oceania, and East Asia remain among the most democratic  regions of the world.
  • While Sweden topped the LDI index, other Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway, along with Costa Rica and New Zealand make up the top five in liberal democracy rankings.
  • The least democratic areas in the world  include the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region,  Central Asia, and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Most autocratic:
  • Countries such as  Afghanistan, Belarus, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and  Venezuela are among the most autocratic in the world.
  •  Autocratisation is spreading rapidly, with a record of 33 countries autocratising.
  • Closed autocracies, or dictatorships, rose from 25 to 30 between 2020 and 2021.
  • While the world today has 89 democracies and 90 autocracies, electoral autocracy remains the most common regime type, accounting for 60 countries and 44% of the world population or 3.4 billion people. Electoral democracies were the second most common regime, accounting for 55 countries and 16% of the world population.

What does the report say about India?

  • India is one of the top ten ‘autocratisers’ in the world, the V-Dem report classifies India as an autocracy (‘electoral autocracy’) rather than a democracy, ranking it 93rd on the liberal democracy index, out of 179 countries.
  • It has slipped further down in the Electoral Democracy Index, to 100, and even lower in the Deliberative Component Index, at 102.
  •  In South Asia, India is ranked below Sri Lanka (88), Nepal (71), and Bhutan (65) and above Pakistan (117) in the LDI.

Concerns highlighted: 

  • One of the biggest drivers of autocratisation is “toxic polarisation” — defined as a phenomenon that erodes respect of counter-arguments and associated aspects of the deliberative component of democracy — a dominant trend in 40 countries, as opposed to 5 countries that showed rising polarisation in 2011.
  • The report also points out that “toxic levels of polarisation contribute to electoral victories of anti-pluralist leaders and the empowerment of their autocratic agendas”.
  • The “polarisation and autocratisation are mutually reinforcing”“measures of polarisation of society, political polarisation, and political parties’ use of hate speech tend to systematically rise together to extreme levels.”

Facts for Prelims :


About the treaty

  • It is a treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms.
  • It entered into force on 5th February, 2011.
  • New START has replaced the 1991 START I treaty, which expired December 2009, and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which terminated when New START entered into force.
  • It is a successor to the START framework of 1991 (at the end of the Cold War) that limited both sides to 1,600 strategic delivery vehicles and 6,000 warheads.
  • It continues the bipartisan process of verifiably reducing the USA and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals by limiting both sides to 700 strategic launchers and 1,550 operational warheads.
  • It will lapse in February 2021 unless extended for a five-year period.