Freedom House, a Washington-based group that monitors civil and political rights around the world, downgraded Russia to "not free," from "partly free," in its latest survey of global freedom. It was the only country to register a negative category change in 2004, and the new rating puts it in the company of countries like Cuba, China and North Korea.The whole report is here. Meanwhile, Bush said yesterday that "Vladimir Putin and I have got a good personal relationship. I intend to keep it that way. "
This is going to be tricky. I certainly hope that Condoleezza Rice's background as a Russia expert will help her find answers to the difficult Russia-related questions that will face her in new job as Secretary of State.