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Fourteen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has huge economic potential, but the Kremlin keeps a tight grip on the media, who challenge the rich and powerful at their peril.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, it left Russia vulnerable to continued state control via oligarchs who snapp-ed up energy and media interests. Vladimir Putin was re-elected for his second and final term with a landslide majority in 2004. Political campaigning was minimal: Putin was confident he would be re-elected.
Yet critics argue he was well-served by the media during the campaign period: there were hardly any stories that took Putin to task over his policies. What's more, in his first term, the president pulled the plug on many independent …