"The Kremlin Is Making A Profound Mistake"

Putin's grab for TV stations could kill press freedom

Vladimir Putin is stepping up his game of political hardball with Russia's media barons. On Sept. 7, tycoon Boris A. Berezovsky announced that, in response to Kremlin calls to give up his 49% stake in ORT, Russia's largest television network, he would bestow the voting rights for all his shares on a group of Moscow journalists and cultural icons. End of the government pressure? Hardly. Two days later, on Kremlin orders, ORT yanked a popular politics show anchored by Sergei Dorenko, a Berezovsky ally.

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