I am looking for a word for an environment where people feel choked. For example, the environment in medieval Europe (or in communist era) was far from free. One felt choked/strangulated. Is there is word to describe such an environment?
For eg, for happiness, one could say An era/regime of happiness. What would that be for choked?
Update: I was trying to say that the age of Enlightenment was a response to a 'choking kind of environment' where the church had too much control over people's lives.