Bryn Rosenfeld

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Russian President Vladimir Putin looks at the news media as he meets with President Biden on June 16 in Geneva. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

As September’s parliamentary elections approach, Russia has made it increasingly difficult for independent media — outlets that are neither owned nor directly controlled by the Kremlin — to continue operating. And it’s doing so whether or not the outlets criticize the Kremlin.

VTimes, an online Russian news site, shut down on June 12, Russia’s Independence Day, a month after the Kremlin designated its domain administrator a “foreign agent” — which exposed VTimes editors and journalists to criminal prosecution and possible imprisonment.

The VTimes story reveals the many tactics Russia deploys to silence independent media. Our research shows that, at least in the short run, this tactic may reduce media coverage critical of the government.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with winners of the Leaders of Russia contest via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Tuesday. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AP)

On Sunday, Russia will hold regional elections. Voters will cast ballots in some 9,000 races in 83 regions, with everything from elections to fill national legislature vacancies to elections for regional governors and municipal councils.

According to the respected Russian election monitoring group Golos, these elections are likely to be a sham. Even the Communists, a tame, officially recognized opposition party, have not been allowed to register candidates in seven of the 18 governor’s races. Real independent candidates have found it harder than ever to get on the ballot.

Since the beginning, the Putin system has been built on twin pillars.…  Seguir leyendo »