Freedom appeared in a state of stagnation during 2006, according to Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World survey. The most significant development was the decline in freedom in Asia and continued poor performance in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Globally, many countries showed evidence of problems with press freedom, rule of law, and corruption. Freedom House also pointed to a growing “pushback” against democracy in such countries as Russia, Venezuela, Iran, China, Belarus, and Zimbabwe. Regimes used legalistic methods to smother independent media and marginalize nongovernmental organizations in a broad effort to eliminate sources of potential democratic ferment.