but Michael Specter has a brilliantly good article in this week's New Yorker, "Kremlin, Inc." Just get hold of an issue and read it (the cover date is Jan. 29, 2007), it will make you want to weep at the fate of journalism in Moscow and yet it is also a mysteriously uplifting read because of the sheer clarity and force of the narrative:
"The majority of the population, they are absolutely happy," Alexei Volin, who served for three years as deputy chief of staff in Putin's government and now runs a hgihly successful publishing house, said when we met in Moscow. "They get more money. Consumption has increased two and a half times int he last six years. People are buying cars, country houses, they are going to big shopping malls--as big as those in the United States." Volin, a trim, clean-cut, forty-three-year-old man dressed in a white button-down shirt and khaki Dockers, smiled. "They are just as happy as they can be," he said. "They don't have a headache because of some political problem or the concentration of power. They don't watch TV news. They don't care.
"There is another group," he went on. "They are unhappy, because political life has been frozen. They don't like the situation with Russian television or the press. Several months ago, I talked to one important Kremlin person and I asked him why is our TV news so awful and dull. And his answer was 'Why are you watching TV? People like you should go read the Internet if you want information. TV is not for you. It's for the people.'"
In this context, freedom of the press doesn't matter much and, increasingly in Russia, doesn't exist.