(The Moscow Times) (Co-authored with S. Zhemukhov) Why hasn't President Vladimir Putin shut down Ekho Moskvy, often described as the "last bastion of free media in Russia?" And more importantly, will he do it?
The riddle of Ekho Moskvy is all the more interesting because the Kremlin has recently moved against other independent media. Last year, for example, it blocked access in Russia to four prominent websites: Yezhednevny Zhurnal (Ej.ru), Grani.ru, Kasparov.ru, and Alexei Navalny's blog. These sites were completely oppositional, never provided a platform for pro-Kremlin content and therefore were useless to the authorities.
In contrast, the Kremlin hopes to use Ekho Moskvy for its own purposes. Ekho Moskvy is known as a radio station, but it also has an important website that attracts a large audience. It is a unique media outlet in Russia in the sense that it claims it does not pursue a political platform. Instead, it gives space to a wide spectrum of opinions.
For example, it offers its listeners and readers the views of liberal opposition members, like Vladimir Ryzhkov and Mikhail Kasyanov, as well as the ultra-nationalist Alexander Prokhanov and the neo-Bolshevik Eduard Limonov. Its contributors range from pro-Kremlin spokesmen to its most ardent critics. […]
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