Azerbaijan continues to take the flak for roughshod treatment of the media and political critics. But sitting on an embarrassment of hydrocarbon wealth, the country is in no hurry to change its ways. Behind the maquillage of spruced-up buildings and streets in Baku, rights groups see a ruling political dynasty plagued by rampant nepotism and corruption.
Freedom House also rated the region's three separatist territories, but they do not make the overall picture any brighter. Nagorno Karabakh is doing as badly as the country that claims it, Azerbaijan. Russian-guarded Abkhazia and, especially, South Ossetia are both doing far worse than their claimant, Georgia, according to the report.
In a nutshell, there is not a single truly free place in the Caucasus and vicinity. Russia is just as "not free" as Azerbaijan. “Partly free” Turkey (apparently, slightly less "partly" so than Georgia and Armenia) is as good as it gets.