Peace “Very Low” in Russia

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Global Peace Index Map

Russia just can’t catch a break when it comes to global indexes. Whether its corruption, living standards, media freedom, and or just plain freedom, Russia always lands on the wrong side of fence. Russia’s new failed grade is in “peace.” According to Global Peace Index, a survey conducted by Vision of Humanity, Russia ranks 131st out of 140 countries in peace. That places it right between Colombia and Lebanon. As for some other countries? The most peaceful nation is Iceland, which is followed by mostly European nations plus Japan and New Zealand. China comes in at 67th, Britain at 49th, and France at 36th. The United States comes in at 97th. Israel is squeezed between Chad and Afghanistan at 136th. Iraq is dead last at 140.

As for what “peace” is, the Global Peace index is hesitant to give a concrete definition. Instead GPI offers an approach which combines something called “negative peace,” i.e. “an absence of violence,” with “positive peace” which is the result of the “structures and institutions which create and maintain peace.” When combined, a “culture of peace” is said to develop based on the rejection of violence, addressing the root cause of conflicts, and a commitment to solving problems though dialog and negotiation. Ultimately, however, once you get past the mealy-mouthed concept of peace, a country’s “peacefulness” is boiled down to some fairly standard criteria: “a nation’s relations with its neighbors, arms sales and foreign troop deployments” as wells as “a nation’s crime rate, its prison population and the potential for terrorism within its borders.”

The reason for Russia’s dismal peace rating? The Financial Times explains,

Russia remains in the bottom 10 despite a lower score in the measure of domestic conflict, which partly reflects increased stability in Chechnya. Relations with neighboring countries are moderately tense and Russians have low levels of trust in other citizens, probably a reflection of the country’s high rates of violent crime.

Raw ranking doesn’t really say much. For example, what does it mean to be ranked 97th, like the United States, and 131st, like Russia? How far apart are they when your compare individual criteria? Luckily, GPI has a country comparison page. Here is how Russia and the US stack up against one another. In some ways they are closer than you might think.