Ukrainian President's First Year in Office Brings Rapid Chan

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Ukrainian President Yanukovych implemented new presidential powers since he took office a year ago. But rights groups have downgraded Ukraine's ranking among free nations. Let's find out more from our correspondent in Kiev.

A year has passed since Viktor Yanukovych took the oath of President of Ukraine. During this time, the country has seen many changes in the economy and the rights of the people.

Shortly after Yanukovych assumed power, a pro-centralization majority was formed in the parliament, ensuring rapid adoption of laws in favor of the President.

Yanukovych says these changes have been positive.

[Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine]:
"It was necessary to restore order in the government structure. We have done it quite quickly. Today, the President, the government and the parliament, and local authorities operate as a single chain."

But rights groups say, as a result of the presidential power grab, individual rights have been compromised.

[Volodymyr Yavorskyy, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union]:
"Under such a system, of course, it is easier to govern. But on the other hand, this method of control is incompatible with democratic values, because the feedback is lost and simultaneously human rights are restricted, a person does not feel free."

Speaking live on Friday, the President noted some developments in the economy.

[Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine]:
"We were able to halt the decline in economic performance. We have economic growth, greater than 4%. Production growth, more than 11%."

However, according to sociologists, the President and his party's ratings have dropped by more than double.

Despite economic growth according to official figures, many Ukrainians do not feel the promise of a better life.