Wednesday, April 22, 2015


R. “Andrei” Pemberton
Dr. Bailey
23 April 2015
The Post-Soviet Media Landscape:
 A Comparative Analysis of Information De-Democratization in Russia and Ukraine
This project seeks to analyze the structural, cultural, and rational aspects of media de-democratization in Russia and Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union. With heavy reliance on the pre-existing literature, I state that the lessening of press freedom is perhaps not only a symptom of de-democratization on a greater scale but also a cause through a microcosmic examination. Russia and Ukraine are two post-Soviet states that also share an older cultural relationship but have not had equivalent media nor democratic outcomes. The media has a key role to play in civil society – however, use of the media in the post-Soviet space has become perhaps a method of a decidedly un-civil society, due to a “reverse wave” of media democratization from the mid-1990s onwards. I argue that while there is a significant difference between Russian and Ukrainian cultures and their views towards civil society and professional journalism, the main difference is in the media ownership structure. Ukrainian media, unlike Russian media, are primarily owned by a variety of oligarchs who do not directly answer to a strong, centralized state. Furthermore, attempts at directly censoring Ukrainian media – such as during the regimes of Kuchma and Yanukovych – have been unsuccessful.

            In much of the scholarship on post-communism, there is a dialectical transitological approach to the study of the region. Many critics have taken particular issue with the teleological “assumption of a single endpoint to historical progression, namely, liberal democracy” of the transitological and modernization-theory approaches.[1] The dialectical approach has failed in that the post-Soviet space has gone astray from the dream of an ultimate destination of democracy. Instead, in many cases – particularly in Russia – it has backslid into so-called “hybrid authoritarian” regimes, blending elements of democracy and authoritarianism. Defining precisely what constitutes democracy is a worthwhile debate, but not the focus of this topic. Nevertheless, an operational definition is necessary for this argument. Analysis here will be based on Anthony Giddens three necessities, not as a line in the sand but instead to gauge if Russia and Ukraine are moving toward or away from:
  • A competitive multiparty system.
  • Free and legitimate elections.
  • An effective legal framework of civil liberties or human rights.[2]
Implicit in Giddens’ requirements, and the maintenance or progress towards them, is a free press as part of civil society. I will argue that after the 1990s there has been a reverse-wave of media democratization that, while perhaps most infamous in Russia, is wide-spread across the former Soviet Union. In order to fully understand its occurrence, other similar systems must be compared, notably the culturally similar Ukraine, which shares more than simply a communist past unlike many other former Soviet Republics.
The media are utilized to unduly influence elections in Russia, and quantitative evidence demonstrating the relationship between media and political choice. A major component of this is how the law is selectively applied, particularly against media outlets unfriendly to the regime. As early as 1999, Giddens noted that
In countries that are trying to make a transition to democracy (as I have defined it), Russia, for instance, you have a problematic and partial process of democratisation... there is the possibility of retrogression: maybe in 20 years’ time many democracies may have relapsed into authoritarian regimes. [3]

Indeed, Russia's democratization has evidently reversed, rather than continued sluggishly or even slowed, as judged by an examination of even media freedom – much sooner than the 20 year estimate. Giddens notes the importance of the media as implicit in democracy.
The media, particularly television, have a double relation to democracy. On the one hand, as I have stressed, the emergence of a global information society, is a powerful democratising force. Yet television, and the other media, tend to destroy the very public space of dialogue they open up, through a relentless trivialising, and personalising, of political issues. [4]

            Richard Sakwa, writing in Putin Redux, theorizes on the operation of a “dual-state” contrasted between formal rules and informal practices – in many ways, a thin veneer of democratic institutions over quasi-legal and illegal acts performed by authoritarian elites, or dejure laws over defacto practices. Within the context of his work, he refers explicitly to the contradiction between formal constitutionalism and the informal practices of the administrative regime, contrasting Weberian rational-legal and personalist authority.[5] Additionally, legal guarantees to information and rules against censorship are superseded by a lack of access to information and a combination of methods of dubious legality to silence journalists. Information plurality in the media has gradually decreased, both by self-censorship and the purchase of media outlets by the state or state affiliated companies.
            By Western standards, the question of whether Russia has a free press or not has already been heavily explored in the literature. Despite significant media variation, most scholars agree that there is no real media freedom or diversity – and what diversity exists is progressively narrowing.
            It is important to conceptualize what constitutes media freedom. I will utilize a summarization of the conditions Denis McQuail set forth in Mass Communication Theory as:
  • Absence of censorship
  • Equal rights to information and communication
  • Freedom of the press to obtain relevant information
  • Transparency of media ownership and advertising
  • An active, critical editorial policy
Non-governmental organizations regularly rank press freedom in the region as poor, and these rankings are of some comparative use – even if one were to accept the idea, as some scholars propose, that their methodology is questionable. In 2002, shortly after Putin's rise to power and the earliest available report with the current methodology, Russia was ranked as “free”, coming in globally at 60 – a tie with a few other countries, including its neighbor Ukraine.[6] However, in 2013, Freedom House ranked Russian media as “not free,” coming in at 176th in Global Press Freedom, placing it in the company of decidedly authoritarian countries such as Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, and Ethiopia.[7]

Freedom House Global Press Freedom Ranking 2013
96 – Partly Free
112 – Partly Free
131 – Partly Free
158 – Not Free
172 – Not Free
176 – Not Free
177 – Not Free
193 – Not Free

Comparing with a most similar systems approach regionally, Russia is still on the low end, ranking at 24th in Central and Eastern Europe / Eurasia. Its post-Soviet neighbors to the west: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, were ranked “partly free” at 14th, 18th, and 20th respectively. This placed Russia in between its post-Soviet Central Asian neighbors, all of which were ranked “not free,” with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan performing at 22nd and 23rd, and Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan coming in last and beneath Russia at 26th, 28th, and 29th.[8]
            Russian media, however, is not shaped simply by edict or decree from the Kremlin. Unlike Ukraine, which had a combination of patrimonial and bureaucratic media interference along with direct censorship during Kuchma – which was much more direct of what to publish and what not to publish in the form of so-called temnyky – Russian censorship is generally self-censorship by media-outlets themselves fearful of either economic or physical retribution. While press freedom has demonstrably worsened under Putin's regime, as a result of, and contributing to, worsening democratization as a whole in Russia, some roots, as I will later demonstrate, go back to the Yeltsin era and others further still.
            Ukraine’s own media development is similar to that of Russia’s. After the fall of the Soviet Union, there was an initial decade of fast growth in the media landscape. However, unlike Russia, Ukraine underwent a revolution at the dawn of the 21st century again with the Orange Revolution of 2004 – and again in 2014. Journalists were openly confrontational with politicians immediately prior to the 2004 revolution, leading often to so-called “newsroom riots.”[9] Yet, unlike Putin’s regime, which had managed to consolidate state control of the media economically either directly or by proxy, private Ukrainian media remains under highly oligarchical control, despite legal guarantees of transparency and press freedom. Thus, there are two primary differences between the Russian and Ukrainian media landscapes: different “captors” of media, and a culture much more hostile to state control. I argue that presidential power in Ukraine with relevance to the media decreased in 2004, and then reversed course in 2010, following the elections of Yushenko and then Yanukovych, respectively.
The research question for this paper is how Russian media developed into tools of the state rather than elements of civil society, and how this has perpetuated Russia’s backsliding into authoritarianism, in comparison to Ukrainian media which have been much less successful as tools of the state. Building on my previous research in Dr. Huskey’s Russian Politics course and Dr. Nylen’s Comparative Politics course, I do not seek here to ask if the media in these two countries are unfree. The literature and data, as I will argue, shows that it is clearly the case and that there is wide agreement amongst political scientists that:
a)         Press freedom is lacking in Russia in large part due to economic factors such as the state-business-media relationship and the contradiction between defacto practices and dejure law. Despite similar economic relationships, Ukrainian media remain freer as a result of more diversity and ironically a weaker state, but the media are not autonomous.
b)         Both Russian and Ukrainian cultures have a history of viewing information as a commodity. However, there are significant cultural differences that play a role in how the two societies approach civil that have further widened their difference since the collapse of the Soviet Union, such as Russia’s engagement in the Chechen War and an increasingly liberalized western Ukraine.
c)         The use of the media is politically efficacious in Russia, thus it is rational for elites to try and maintain control. That political efficacy is significantly more questionable in Ukraine, given past failures of state control, a culture swayed by media bias, and the dominance of different oligarchs.

Literature Review
            What is Written Versus What is Done: “Managed Democracy” in Russia
            The dominant theme in the recent literature is that the Russian state is neither democratic nor a “developing” democratic state, and that the state and role of mass media in Russia reflects this. The literature often does not operationalize the term “democracy”, nor does it necessarily accept a binary between democratic and authoritarian – but it does not seem farfetched to state Russia is simply not democratic. While different methods of gauging this are utilized by different authors, there is a common line: one manifestation of Russia’s hybrid authoritarian regime, so too is visible within the media, is a significant lack of integrity in the rule of law, and roots of backsliding into authoritarianism as early as Yeltsin but immediately strengthened with Putin. Richard Sakwa, a professor at the University of Kent, writing in his book Putin Redux, characterizes the regime as utilizing de facto practices and de jure laws. He argues that Putin’s hybrid-authoritarian system of rule – a term called “managed democracy” – is based in contradictory elements, which simultaneously allows for the consolidation of power while complicating modernization. As Sakwa writes, “A dual state in which the authoritarianism of the administrative regime is countered by the weak democracy of the constitutional state.”[10] His analysis is primarily qualitative; he does not necessarily make normative judgments of Putin’s regime, instead analyzing both successes and failures in an attempt to make sense of the contemporary situation. Sakwa writes that even under Yeltsin, the concept of “vlast” – a Russian word used to describe the political power system – grew in strength, where the state began to manage not only policy, but “political processes as a whole.”[11]
Despite the roots of vlast in the Yeltsin era, Putin thus as statebuilder increased its importance, especially in founding institutions that undermined the constitution and regular modifications, along with fostering a paternalistic image. [12] Still, as Sakwa accurately notes, Putin was no mere “agent” of the Russian security services. While the siloviki – the clan of current and former security service members – did significantly elevate, Putin was and is no simple KGB/FSB “stooge”, nor do the siloviki always get their way.
            What is most relevant to the research topic, however, is what Sakwa lists as the sixth pillar of Putin’s system of power: complete and total dominance over the mass media, “above all television.” Sakwa states, as the data verifies, that the vast majority of Russians rely on television for information concerning public affairs. Sakwa notes the forcing out of then-NTV owner Vladimir Gusinsky soon after Putin’s 2000 inauguration, and the taming of media outlets thereafter. Additionally, Sakwa notes that 80 percent of airwave media – radio and television – are directly controlled by the state. While Putin and indeed United Russia are said to not express a coherent ideology, Sakwa nevertheless mentions Vyacheslav Volodin and his predecessor, Vladislav Surkov, as key figures in keeping the media under control as part of the implementation of “managed democracy.”[13] Sakwa also adds that recently, during the 2011 protest movements by Alexei Navalny, the state-owned media was used against Navalny to delegitimize the protests as a foreign state financed operation attempting to be a “color revolution” as had been seen in Ukraine and Georgia.[14]

Political Preference and Media Preference
            Sarah Oates, a scholar in the field of political communication, has previously researched the relationship between media and democracy, whether subversive or supportive. Her article “The Neo-Soviet Model of the Media” qualitatively analyzes factors of what she labels the “neo-Soviet” model through examining flaws in media law, self-censorship, direct and indirect control, harassment, and the rejection of objectivity.[15] Moreover, beyond these structural elements Oates also examines the cultural element the continuity in audience reception from the Soviet to the “neo-Soviet” model, as well as a lack of journalistic professionalism.
            Notably, Oates criticizes media freedom indexes as “a projection of a particular national tradition of the media (typically that of the United States) onto the media system in another country to see how it measures up.”[16] Thus, instead she proposes the utilization of media “models” to “assess the normative role of media across a range of politics.” She thus has ultimately two questions: does the Russian case fit in with the Western model, or moreso the Soviet model, and does the institution support or subvert democratic institutions?
            Oates derives from Siebert, Peterson, and Schramm’s 1963 work on mass media four classical media models: libertarian, social responsibility, authoritarian, and soviet. The traits are something of a spectrum: libertarian is free to publish as they please; social responsibility has certain obligations to provide balance in partnership with the state; authoritarian media serves the needs of the state; Soviet serves the interests of the working class in theory, but ultimately in practice is controlled by the state as in the authoritarian model. She highlights the issues of media in a nation in transit; though media is important in the transmission of values, those values may place emphasis on values which divide rather than unite a populace, as well as “fail to foster civil society.” [17]
            With previous research clearly in mind, Oates attempts to tackle other important questions related to media’s role in civil society, such as what even constitutes “education” and “propaganda.” Oates notes, however, that this differs not only between regime types, but even amongst countries similar in ideology. Oates goes on to analyze the responses of Russian focus group participants in 2000 and 2004 surveys which rejected the idea of media objectivity with Schudson’s argument from The Power of News in 1995: “what journalists ‘produce and reproduce is not information—if there is such a thing; it is what is recognized or accepted as public knowledge given certain political structures and traditions.”[18]
            A question that has puzzled most researchers is that despite apparent diversity, there is not effective, independent political power in Russia. Oates tackles this, noting that despite the appearance of democratic institutions “in form”, they lack “democratic content.” This resembles Sakwa’s theorization of the dual-state. “As a result,” writes Oates, “much of the mass media simply repeat the fable of democratic interaction.”[19] Oates notes that despite the problems of bias during the Yeltsin era, serious attacks on media outlets began with the arrival of Putin.
            There is a mix of both state and commercial ownership in Russian broadcasting and print, which will be later explored in depth with much owed to Oates’ own analysis of “following the money.” For example, Oates notes that only 51% of First Channel is owned by the Russian state, but much of the rest is owned by enterprises controlled indirectly by the Kremlin.[20]Additionally, unsure guarantees of legal protection through contradictory laws and a lack of integrity in the rule of law itself has caused media outlets to self-censor, and Oates lists several interviews throughout the 2000s with investigative journalists complaining of this.

The Information Climate
            Hedwig de Smaele's research on the “information climate” of Russia is particularly focused on culture, as a method of explaining the difference in practices between lip service to formal rules while contradictory practices are in play. De Smaele assigns blame to Soviet heritage and the turbulence of the Yeltsin era for the continued weakness in journalistic professionalism. De Smaele attempts to perform an in-case comparison between Soviet Russia and contemporary Russia, along with examining the underlying societal values that may have caused the present attitude and resultant behavior. [21]
            De Smaele notes that the Soviet Union was the “prototype of a closed society.”[22] Access to limited outside information was a privilege to the elites, which even they only received on a need to know basis. Thus, a limited flow of information was the norm during the Soviet era. By comparison, there is a clear de jure right to information in contemporary Russia. Here again, de Smaele points out the recurring theme that Sakwa and Oates noted: there is a fundamental contradiction between rights and practices.[23] Despite guarantees in Article 29 of the 1993 Constitution and Article 1 of the 1991 Russian Federation Law on Mass Media, restricted access to information continues.[24] De Smaele cites the IREX Panels, which will be examined independently as a primary source later in this research. Information on a much less grandiose scale remains a privilege of the elites.
            De Smaele also further analyzes the new phenomena of “commercial secrets” in Russia, which violate the general rights to information. This so too is the case with state secrets; while certain data is “less” secret, signaling something of a break with its Soviet past, de Smaele criticizes what he sees as a clearly hierarchical system of information classification.[25]
            De Smaele differs from Oates in the sense that, by his analysis, media freedom is curtailed in contemporary Russia not out of necessarily the preservation of power for power’s sake, but as a cultural difference: with societal goals taking precedence over individual rights – whether under the pretense of developing democracy under Yeltsin, or a strong Russia under Putin, as a symptom of particularism and collectivism. [26]

The Efficacy of Media Dominance in Russian Elections
            A hybrid quantitative-qualitative survey-based approach by Stephen White, Sarah Oates, and Ian McAllister “Media Effects and Russian Elections, 1999-2000” finds that the “Unity” party owed its 1999 victory in large part to disproportionate media coverage favoring Putin, the then acting president who was closely associated with the Unity party.[27] According to the data, television was the main source of political information. However, this election may have set the stage for the reduction in media diversity, as a preference for commercial media was associated with preference for anti-Kremlin parties and candidates, despite a more balanced coverage on the part of the television channels. Indeed, more generally, the researchers propose
“The findings suggest that the state itself may exercise a disproportionate influence upon the electoral process in newly established systems in which social structures and political allegiances remain fluid.” [28]

White, et al’s research is highly quantitative. As the authors note, there was widespread belief that disproportionate coverage on Russian state media led to the victory of the Unity party and Putin, yet the empirical analysis was lacking. Thus, the researchers utilized the data of a national survey conducted in spring 2001, utilizing regression analysis taking into account reciprocal causation between media source and vote choice – indicating that the associations were not spurious.[29]
            The literature they reviewed showed an uncertain effect of media coverage on political preference; in this field of quantitatively examining post-Soviet Russian media, the three were and still are pioneers. Even qualitatively, however, they found that media bias was not limited merely to unbalanced coverage, but also the use of компромат (kompromat) – compromising materials published with the aim to embarrass or reveal illicit activity on the part of the opposition.[30] Against private media unallied with the Kremlin, financial pressures such as the sudden collection of debt or increased broadcasting costs were utilized. When it came to the state-controlled media, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in OSCE concluded that the state media outlets “had failed to uphold the public trust by engaging in slanderous reporting, geared to preserve the advantage of the existing power structure and promoting a specific outcome.”[31]

Violence Against Journalists
            Somewhat surprisingly, I was not able to find decidedly scholarly work on this topic for inclusion in the literature review. Although a wealth of non-academic research exists as published by organizations such as Freedom House and the Committee to Protect Journalists, the evidence utilized is often highly circumstantial and anecdotal. I will independently examine that research and secondary comments by academics in the body of this paper.

“The System Is Being Duped”
            Daphne Skillen, writing in 2007 before Putin’s second term was ending, noted important problems with electoral structure as it relates to the media in “The Next General Elections in Russia: What Role for the Media?” Hers is primarily a qualitative analysis, focusing on much of what the literature had already covered, particularly within the legal sphere. Of interest, however, she notes a particular problem with candidate lists in the parliamentary system. For example, journalists’ provision of accurate information on candidates is suddenly complicated if a candidate rejects their seat in parliament, replaced instead with one who was ranked lower on the party list. The role of journalism is diminished, and in civil society terms, the voter is left “mystified.”[32]

Kuchma’s Censorship
            Keeping Oates’ idea of media models in mind, the most noteworthy and similar case to compare Russia to is Ukraine. The amount of literature is significantly less on Ukraine, but a trend in backsliding seems to coincide with Russia’s own in the mid 90’s, owed in large part due to state-oligarch cooperation. Marta Dyczok in her article “Was Kuchma’s Censorship Effective? Mass Media in Ukraine Before 2004” examines the “media muzzling” in Ukraine. Dyczok argues that the Ukrainian censorship was motivated out of an interest in making private individuals disinterested in politics, thereby aiding the consolidation of power and minimizing criticism of the regime as a “zombie effect.”[33] Of course, as we see in hindsight it did not have the desired effect, given the Orange Revolution in 2004.
            Dyczok claims that comparison with Russia is of limited value, due to a cultural difference between Ukrainians and Russians in trust of state media. I disagree, as this difference is not large enough to invalidate comparisons and may actually help to understand the difference in media between Russian and Ukraine. Additionally, Dyczok goes on to say that “Ukraine’s reform trajectory departed from that of countries of Eastern Europe which have successfully followed the ‘transition paradigm’ whereas Ukraine began backsliding around 1998.”[34] Unlike Dyczok, however, I argue there is significant value in understanding how Ukraine still backslid into authoritarianism, yet the state had limited political efficacy with media censorship, particularly given the similarities between Russia and Ukraine.
            Dyczok notes that – contrariwise to what the literature states about Russia – the Internet quickly came to play an important role in Ukraine, along with cable and satellite television. [35] While Ukraine’s first president, Leonid Kravchuk, carried on reforms started in the Gorbachev era, Dyczok argues that this is more due to other more pressing issues such as economic reform and the place of Ukraine on the international scene.[36] Not all state media was sold off, and the state retained ownership of 10% of the radio and television channels after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, Dyczok is cautious to point out that this 10% figure is misleading. Many registered print outlets do not actually publish, and the state owned national television broadcaster reaches 97% of Ukrainian households.[37] Much like the Russian parliamentary and presidential elections of 1999 and 2000, Kuchma used his oligarch allies to influence media outlets that the state did not directly own as to unbalance coverage, particularly of the opposition. According to Dyczok, “their thinking about the role of the media remained very Soviet. They continued to view it as a tool which was theirs to use, an instrument of power, to subordinate and manipulate, as had been the case in the Soviet era.” [38]
            Much like their Russian counterparts, Ukrainian media outlets would receive express directions on how to frame media reports – often called “spin” – known in Ukrainian as “temnyky.”[39] The censorship also concentrated on television, with less – but still prominent – restrictions against private newspapers, magazines, and radio stations, typically exercised through pressure or purchasing ownership. The Internet, by contrast as a form of contemporary samizdat or “self-published material”, while important as an emerging technology, went underneath the radar of the censors given its then low availability and importance to the business sector.[40]
            Unlike in Russia, as previously mentioned, these similar methods were ultimately unsuccessful. Kuchma’s popularity remained low, and the establishment failed in elections. The implication of Kuchma’s involvement in the disappearance of an opposition journalist caused ostracization of Ukraine in the international community, and also delegitimized him at home.[41] Data from the Institute of Sociology at the national Academy of Sciences of Ukraine over a period of 11 years demonstrates growing distrust of the media with lessening approval of Kuchma.[42] Ultimately, Dyczok concludes, censorship was unsuccessful in Ukraine politically, but had the harmful effect of lessening public trust in it, thereby perhaps complicating civil society.
Media Capture, Media Ownership
            Natalya Ryabinska, writing for the journal “Problems of Post Communism,” has authored several articles related to Ukrainian mass media. Most relevant for the purposes of this paper are her articles “Media Capture in Post-Communist Ukraine” and “The Media Market and Media Ownership in Post-Communist Ukraine.”
            In “Media Capture...” Ryabinska looks at the “dual-state” phenomena as it applies to Ukraine, with high levels of corruption superseding rational-legal authority. As part of this corruption, there is “media capture: the situation in which the media has not managed to gain an autonomous position in society but is controlled ‘either directly by governments or by vested interests networked with politics.’”[43] Ryabinska goes on to say that “…[I]nformal rules and practices often subvert or undermine new formal regulations introduced after the abandonment of communism, thereby raising barriers to the rule of law and successful democratic reforms in general.”[44]
            Ryabinska lists three particular oligarchs as being dominant players in the media market, tracing their political allegiances and their ownership of media outlets: Serhiy Kurchenko, Rinat Akhmetov, and Viktor Pinchuk. However, of note, these oligarchs do not hold the same sort of loyalty that Russian oligarchs to Putin do; they actively participate in politics, and have switched allegiances. [45]
“…Media outlets… do not remain loyal to particular political actors over the long term but shift their loyalties depending on economic support as well as general power shifts within a clientelistic system. This type of relationship between media and politics helps newspapers ensure their own survival and access to key political figures in political environments where the state is weak and divided against itself and rival power groups use the media in their political struggle.”[46]

Ryabinska also examines the issuance of temnyky, as Dyczok had previously. She also notes that the institutional design had changed significantly in 2004 after Yushenko came to power, only to be reversed to the “hypercentralized constitutional model that strongly empowers the president” upon Yanukovych’s accession to presidency.[47]
In “Media Market…” Ryabinska argues the most significant problem with the failure of mass media to be meaningful in civil society is its concentrated ownership by oligarchical interests that utilize it for political favor, rather than media outlets being able to survive on their own and thus remain politically independent.[48]
A Reverse Wave
            Olga Nikolayenko in “Press Freedom during the 1994 and 1999 Presidential Elections in Ukraine” characterizes media democratization in Ukraine as “full of roadblocks and U-turns.” [49] Her research is framed in Samuel Huntington’s concept of a “reverse wave” of democratization, utilizing the media as a microcosm, much like this paper itself coincidentally does, whereas her use of McQuail’s conditions for freedom of mass communication did inspire the same use in my research. Her focus, however, is solely looking at two major time points in Ukraine – the 1994 and 1999 presidential elections.
            Nikolayenko characterizes President Kravchuk of Ukraine as having been more interested in stabilizing relationships between Kyiv and Crimea, and thus focused on Russian media, rather than Ukrainian media – thus the relative freedom of regional media was not due to effort but rather apathy, up until 1994.[50] Kuchma, however, developed a system of bureaucratic nightmares through a multitude of councils and laws such as the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting which Kuchma could easily obstruct with friendly council members.
            Beyond political censorship, however, Nikolayenko faults the “media ownership structure” in particular for a lack of media freedom, stating that “…many non-state media outlets were robbed of the freedom to craft their editorial policy independent from non-journalistic forces and were turned into mouthpieces of certain interest groups.”[51]
            Nikolayenko lightly examines violence against journalists and the use of libel suits to silence investigative journalism, noting that televised media dwarfs print outlets, but the bulk of her research goes on to quantitatively analyze the prices of “hidden advertising” and kompromat in the two presidential elections as well as examining the extent of media bias. [52]

The first sections will consist of structural analysis. The initial examination is the relationship between the media and the state. I will argue that whereas Russian media relies on the patronage of state sponsors and state-affiliated corporations, Ukrainian media instead is much less reliant on state sponsors but rather private oligarchical business interests that externally control the media and whose allegiance shifts dependent on clientelistic power structures. This inherently shapes the way coverage operates.
Additionally, in both Russia and Ukraine the dejure legal system is contradictory, with regional law often clashing with national law. [53] Those critical of the regime in Russia are open to selective enforcement of these aforementioned laws. In Ukraine, this was similarly the case except during a “golden age” after the Orange Revolution and during Yushenko’s administration. These legal ramifications are more often than not directed against the business elements of the media rather than journalists themselves. Still, editors have been “let go” sans explanation within a short time after the publication of unfavorable content, and Russia as well as Ukraine are infamously plagued by the mysterious murders of investigative journalists. This is a gross failure of Giddens' third requirement: an effective legal system guaranteeing human and civil rights.
Russia's information climate has also gradually moved from primarily print oriented to television oriented, and an underdeveloped infrastructure has prevented social media and the Internet from superseding this.
            Secondly, the post-Soviet Russian and Ukrainian cultures regarding mass media will be examined. In Russia, the media is not only recognized as an instrument of the state – it is, in fact, expected to be so. This is not unique only to the elites, but by many Russians and indeed many reporters themselves. While this is a significant holdover from Soviet times, in many ways it is reflective of Russians' cynicism towards democracy before democratic institutions could ever truly rise. Additionally, the concept of journalistic professionalism is notably lacking. This inherently complicates horizontal accountability within civil society. Without a functional system of horizontal accountability vis a vis civil society, addressing corruption within the legal systems, fraud in elections and the disenfranchisement of opposition or minority parties relies on the vertical accountability of the state, run by elites which have – as O'Donnell and Schmitter analyze – lack a rational desire for democratization. There is the perception that this problem is significantly less so in Ukraine, especially in more recent years, given high participation in civil society on the part of Ukrainians. Even Russian journalists such as Masha Lipman seem to share this perception, as will be elaborated on later.
            The final method will be a rationalist analysis behind the motive of media manipulation in Ukraine and Russia. In Russia, the elites under and compromised of both Yeltsin and Putin had, and continue to have, a demonstrable interest in influencing the media, given the quantifiable and significant role it plays in political choice. While there have been similar attempts in Ukraine, it is much less politically efficacious and decentralized, unlike in Russia. While media consolidation has the consequence of harming image abroad and lowering democratic quality, it has been an effective tool domestically for maintaining the power of elite cadres. Within the interest of maintaining power – and thus loyalty – of these cadres but also improving the state's own vertical authority, Putin has consolidated the media, and indeed the elites, to those loyal to his regime. As Giddens stated in 1999,
...When you have instantaneous communication in which television and other electronic media are the leading agencies it invades the texture of our experience. It changes aspects of sovereignty and politics and these are very visible. It's not too much to say that the decline and the fall of the Soviet Union was bound up with these transformations. [54]

Structural Analysis: Clientelism and Media Captors
            In an interview with NBC News on 12 July 2006, Russian President Putin stated,
Concerning media freedom…we have more than 3,500 television and radio companies here in Russia… more than 40,000 [print] publications and we could not control them all even if we wanted to. [55]

To examine rationality within a vacuum would be mistaken, as choice does not occur within a vacuum; it is influenced by social relationships, both political and economic. Indeed, the practices of the Russian state regarding media control are not per se the micromanagement of supposedly rational political actors. To understand the relationship in Russia between the media and the state, the legal framework –one of Giddens' three necessities of a democratic system – must first be examined.
Article 29 of the Russian Constitution guarantees freedom of ideas and speech, as well as the right “to freely look for, receive, transmit, produce and distribute information by any legal way.”[56]  In addition, Law 2124-1 of December 27, 1991 on Mass Media is the key guarantor of press freedom.[57] Nevertheless, the Russian Constitution stipulates that legally defined secrets may not be divulged under press freedom, and a law on state secrets was summarily implemented in on 21 July 1993, later amended in 1997.[58] The categories are not specifically defined, such as “science and technology” and “intelligence” thus subject to a large measure of control through diverging interpretations.  According to de Smaele, “...on the basis of the president's list, ministries are permitted to restrict access to specific information under their control.” Correspondents note that the only way to overcome this is to maintain close personal connections with information sources.[59]
Olga Nikolayenko finds a similar system of secrets in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Rada amended their own Law on State Secrets in 2003 after a scandal involving then-President Kuchma, making him the “chief custodian” on state secrets. According to Nikolayenko, “Instead of protecting state secrets, the legal norm is twisted by the ruling elite to shield a corruption-ridden government from investigative reporting.” [60]
While by law the media is also equal, clientelism within the Russian system has allowed for, as Hedwig de Smaele calls them, “privileges” where some are “more equal than others.”[61] This did not start with Putin, but Yeltsin. Although as Sarah Oates states, the use of media in service of the state has markedly increased since President Putin was first elected, the groundwork, indeed the groundwork for the continued use of presidential power and de-democratization, already existed both legally and structurally.[62] According to Masha Lipman, “...although Yeltsin's government did not directly attack press freedom, the fundamental principles that make it possible – just like the principles of other democratic institutions – were compromised during his tenure before they had a chance to take root in the Russian soil.”[63]
As early as 1993, Yeltsin had attempted to constrain the media through official means through use of emergency power during the crisis with the Supreme Soviet in October. He abandoned this due to an incredibly negative reaction both in Russia and potentially through American pressure. Still, Yeltsin was not alone in this. Contrariwise to Putin's regime, which is characterized by the domination by the state over the elites, or a prioritization of coercion over money, Yeltsin had real opposition in the elites, particularly those operating through parliament. At the time, the Russian newspaper Izvestiya even succeeded in resisting Ruslan Khasbulatov’s attempts at turning it into a parliamentary mouthpiece.[64] Regardless of the rational-legal authority, however, the policy of patrimonialism exists, and existed, outside of legal formalities. Mikhail Gulyaev, writing in 1996, stated that the primary structural function of the media was thus:
The primary function of mass media in Russia is not yet to attract and hold large audiences for advertisers as in the West, although a strong tendency toward this exists, but to attract and hold large audiences for individual politicians who either already control or strive to control the mass media. Mediazation of Russian culture is highly appreciated by power holders and those who long to acquire political power. The politicians, the new economic elite and the journalists are mesmerized by the tremendous power they believe the mass media have. Three competing groups [aforementioned] look at the Russian media as an important tool to dominate the public discourse. [65]

In 1996, the media landscape was dominated by state controlled and commercial media owned by corporate and oligarchical interests. All national radio channels, the ORT and RTR TV channels, the MTK Television Company, and ITAR-TASS were directly owned. RIA-Novosti was in large part controlled by the state. Stations like Ekho Moskvy and NTV, which were formerly primarily commercially owned, switched from support to opposition during the Chechen War – earning and losing privileges as they did – and in the case of NTV did not survive. Media outlets, both in Russia and Ukraine, were not and typically are not independently profitable. In Russia, 90% of media outlets receive government subsidies; in fact, in Russia commercial media was even more subsidized than state run media.[66] On private outlets, advertisements were typically for the parent company or affiliates, rather than for any sort of monetary payment; instead, favorable coverage was and is the real commodity.[67] This financial dependence fundamentally shapes the way media can operate in Russia, and everything else follows.
            In Ukraine, there is significantly more media diversity as well as less of an attachment to incumbent political regimes; important similarities remain. As in Russia, media outlets are not independently profitable. The Russian trend in the 1990s of oligarchs owning private media outlets for self-promotion and unfavorable coverage of opponents has continued, with a similar ownership structure of large corporate entities owning private media and interfering in editorial policy as patronage to their government allies. However, unlike Putin, Leonid Kuchma – the second president of Ukraine – was never able to consolidate control. His predecessor, Leonid Kravchuk, was more concerned with a “meddlesome” Russian media attempting to influence politics and instigate ethnic strife, rather than control of domestic media – according to a 1994 report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The structural situation remains mostly the same today, with the notable exception – for now – of foreign owned press such as The Moscow Times.[68] The Russian government both has direct ownership of state-run television and defacto ownership through private companies with government links, such as the infamously state-owned oil company Gazprom. Indeed, the aforementioned newspaper Izvestiya once praised in 1993 by Nicholas Daniloff as “beginning to take the aura of a Russian New York Times” has long since been bought out by none other than Gazprom.[69] [70] However, it should be noted that there are cases of notable opposition reporting, such as the case of also Gazprom-owned yet liberal leaning Ekho Moskvy, which regularly reported on the 2011 opposition protests and has received warnings for reporting on the conflict in Ukraine.[71] It should be noted that Ekho Moskvy is an outlier, and one of the few media services that actually earns a profit – perhaps demonstrating a key factor in media independence. If an outlet can survive based on profit from legitimate advertising, it is much less likely to utilize a system of patronage by the elites.

Structural Analysis: Selective Enforcement of the Law and Self-Censorship
In both Russia and Ukraine, who is a criminal and who is not is typically reflective of what oligarch or clan interest holds political power. Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, and Mikhal Khodorkovsky, who had financed Yeltisn's 1996 campaign, fell out of favor with Putin. The prior two fled Russia, and Khodorkovsky spent years in prison. Gusinsky had been director of the independent NTV; his successor, Boris Jordan, was later fired over the coverage of the Moscow theatre crisis in 2002. NTS, the spiritual successor to NTV, was later closed over a regulatory action.[72] In 2007, the computer servers of the Educated Media Foundation, formerly known as Internews Russia, was seized based on the failure to declare funds in customs – a punishment that usually results in a fine of 2,000 rubles. [73]
            Despite censorship being legally forbidden, the practice of self-censorship is rampant due to the coercion and influence of state actors. The 2005 IREX Panel for the Media Sustainability Index on Russia noted the discrepancy between formal rules and informal practices. Andrei Richter, director of the Media Law and Policy Institute, stated “media laws exist, but they are not observed due to how little respect there is for laws in general, the low authority of the media in the community, and the minimal interest of the community in defending free speech, in particular.” Furthermore, according to Mikhail Melnikov, a Russia analyst at the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations in Moscow, “Journalists and the community very seldom make use of the formal and legal ways of protecting free speech.”[74] Information itself is property rather than a public good, and contrariwise to the variety of press centers and press secretaries that theoretically would aid journalist access to information, they serve instead as barriers.
            Laws on extremism and libel have also been utilized against opposition media for what is perhaps political means. Ekho Moskvy, the earlier mentioned radio station, was investigated in April 2015 by Russia’s Investigative Committee after the pro-state Izvestia accused outlets such as Ekho Moskvy and the television channels RBC and Dozhd of receiving “substantial financial infusions from state budget into mass media outlets whose editorial policy followed a clearly expressed anti-state position.” [75] In January 2015, an appeals court upheld a warning issued by Roskomnadzor – a state media “watchdog” – to Ekho Moskvy for “extremist” reporting on the fighting in Ukraine.[76]

Structural Analysis: The Use of Violence
Shared with the selective enforcement of the law is the lack of an insurance of consequences for physical violence against journalists thanks to the poor legal environment. In Russia, what particularly separates Putin from Yeltsin is the apparent use of violence. Since 1992, 56 journalists have been killed, 36 certainly murdered, and 32 with impunity.[77] Known to those particularly critical of Putin's regime, the most infamous murder is that of Anna Politkovskaya, notable for her criticism of the Second Chechen War. In May 2005, the Committee to Protect Journalists listed Russia on the top five “most murderous” countries for journalists.[78] While a handful of murders have had convictions, including recently Politkovskaya’s, the “masterminds” behind the contract killings have never been revealed.
In the period between 1994 and 1999 in Ukraine, violence against journalists also readily increased. Freedom House’s ranking of repressive actions against the press went from 0 (the lowest) in 1994, to 5 (the highest) in 1999 in Ukraine.[79] Reporters Without Borders stated that “the police do everything they can to hinder investigation into the murder of journalists,” referring to the murder of investigative journalists Georgy Gongadze and Igor Alexandrov.[80] Gongadze, an editor of the news website Ukrainska Pravda or Ukrainian Truth, went missing in September of 2000. His body was found in November, but it was not until late December that the identity was confirmed, due in large part to a half-hearted police investigation and the seemingly intentional decomposition of the body by authorities which stored it negligently. On November 28th, Oleksandr Moroz – a rival of Kuchma’s – released recordings of supposed conversations between President Kuchma, Chief of Staff Vladimir Litvin, and Interior Minister Yury Kravchenko, discussing Gongadze. One voice states “You give me this same one at Ukrainska Pravda and we will start to decide what to do with him. He’s simply gone too far.” The recordings were allegedly from an officer of Ukraine’s State Security Service, Mykola Melnychenko, who justified his actions by stating “I gave my oath of allegiance to Ukraine, to the people of Ukraine. I did not break my oath. I did not swear allegiance to Kuchma to perform his criminal orders.” The Committee to Protect Journalists finds the allegations credible.[81]
It is beyond the scope of this research, however, to prove guilt of the elites with the attacks on investigative journalists in Russia and Ukraine. Various NGOs such as the Committee to Protect Journalists have independently investigated the various claims and circumstances, but these obviously have no real legal effect. Nevertheless, one may reasonably infer that the climate of fear and lack of accountability has a “chilling effect” of strongly discouraging the pursuit of investigative journalism. Whereas the Soviet Union had fairly clear boundaries regarding press freedom, there is now a significant degree of uncertainty of what those boundaries are in both Ukraine and Russia. Journalists now have to tread far more carefully – or pay with their lives.

Structural Analysis: Media Availability
As noted earlier by the quote from Putin, Russian media is diverse. However, this diversity does not readily translate into independence. Despite the popularity of newspaper during the Soviet era, television is now overwhelmingly the dominant political information medium in Russia, reaching over 90% of the nation's 140 million people.
Print media, formerly lauded after the era of perestroika, became too expensive for Russians and Ukrainians in the face of liberalized prices in the 1990s. “Liberal outlets have small audiences,” writes Lipman, noting that outside of Izvestiya, which had a press run at the time of 250,000, others seldom exceeded 100,000. This translates to a readership of around 2% of the national audience, confined mostly to distribution in large urban centers such as Moscow.
Despite the growth of the Internet, its penetration of the public sphere has been low, largely catering to the already politically disaffected youth and liberals. [82] In 2010, only 42.8% of the population had access to the Internet as a whole, versus 2.1% in 2000.[83] However, of this percentage, only about 28% actually seems to access online Russian content, often called Runet.[84]
The situation is not much different in Ukraine. According to Gallup, 96.8% of Ukrainians watch TV for news at least weekly, but unlike in Russia the Internet is the second most dominant news source, with 48.3% of Ukrainians going online for news.[85] However, an important factor is that of Russian media broadcasts in Ukraine. While the aspect of foreign information warfare is ultimately beyond the scope of this paper, it nevertheless deserves mention as this can and does have specific effects on Ukrainian politics, especially in Eastern Ukraine, most recently after the Euromaidan movement in 2014. [86]
Cultural Analysis: View of Journalism and Civil Society
            Binding structural relationships and rationality is culture, shaping the behavior of individual actors by societal values, beliefs, and norms. This is not to make a case as “Clash of Civilizations” style case for cultural determnism, however. Giddens stresses the importance of civil society within culture, noting that, “…[Y]ou need civil society. Without civil society you cannot balance the first two factors. Without an effective civil society you cannot promote democratic culture as we see from the case of Russia, and neither can you have an effective market economy.” [87]
            Russians hold no delusions over the accuracy of their media. However, perhaps surprisingly to Westerners, is that Russians overwhelming reject the concepts of objectivity and balance in mass media, instead accepting the media as instruments of their patrons. According to Sarah Oates, “the Russian audience... understands that the 'news' they receive... is an arrangement of information through strong political filters. As long as they understand the type of filter, they feel that they can understand the news.”[88] Furthermore, there is the cultural view that the media is meant to lead and inspire – potentially explaining the preference for state-run First Channel.[89] Criticism of the state is, instead, viewed as chaotic and leading to instability – perhaps baggage from the turbulent Yeltsin years. Just the same, Masha Lipman's prognosis of Russian culture is particularly damning.
Just like other democratic institutions—the parliament, political parties, the judiciary— mass media tried to follow the time-tested Western models, yet none of them made good progress. Disillusioned with a democracy that failed to meet their expectations of a better life, and abhorring the new rich as well as greedy officials, the Russian people resumed their habitual attitude: a deeply ingrained mistrust of the government and of each other, supported by apathy and cynicism. The mass media failed to evolve as a means of advancing public politics in part because the sphere for vigorous debate was gradually reduced and because few Russians sustained hopes of using the media to hold authorities accountable. [90]

            Hedwig de Smaele notes that “the position of the media cannot be seen as the exclusive responsibility of the authorities.”[91] Individual journalists accept the structural realities of their system consider themselves as missionaries of ideas based on tradition and norms, rather than rational-material considerations alone. This is in line with the greater public opinion as well. “...politicians, media-owners, journalists, and the public at large share a common view, common values and a common culture.”[92]
            Information is considered a commodity in post-Soviet cultures. De Smaele further attributes this to cultural influence, contrasting “low-context” universalistic cultures and “high-context” particularistic cultures. Whereas information is a universal right in low-context cultures, it is a particularistic right in high-context cultures. Russia, operating with a system of patronage, is a particularistic high-context culture, characterized by in-groups versus out-groups, clan-life mentality such as the siloviki – Putin's favored cadre of those in the military and power ministries, versus the more liberal, technocratic oligarchs, valuing their particular interests higher than a common societal interest. Economically, particularism leads to corruption and privileges, rather than professional and impersonal market relations. Despite the legal structure ideally putting media outlets on an equal playing field, De Smaele cites the Orwellian phrase, “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”[93]
            Differentiating Ukrainian culture from its Russian counterpart could take volumes, as such justice cannot possibly be done within the space of this research. Nevertheless, the difference in the two societies’ approaches to civil society must be addressed, as related to the media landscape. The World Values Survey’s 6th Wave, in 2011-2012, found that survey respondents’ in Ukraine, both Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers, reported with a higher level the importance of living in a democratically governed country as did Russians, giving some measurable degree of empirical evidence to the idea that Ukraine is more culturally predisposed towards democracy.[94]
            Masha Lipman, writing in response to the 2004 revolution in Ukraine, stated “What happened in Ukraine is inconceivable in today’s Russia… As Ukraine has demonstrated, powerful opposition may be formed even when national television is under tight control. The real problem with the Russian media is that they do not act as watchdogs.” Lipman, a Russian journalist herself, has harsh criticism for Russia’s lack of civil society and professional journalism, but notes several cultural differences between Russia and Ukraine: the western part of Ukraine is much more historically European, having been part of the Hapsburg Empire; Ukraine has not been engaged in dealing with continuing terrorism such as the Chechen war; Ukraine is much more economically diverse, unlike the oil-dependent Russia; Ukraine was never the “key” state in the Soviet Union, and thus has no real motivation “to bring back the Soviet great-power mentality.”[95]

Rational Analysis: The Desire to Control
            The elites have a rational desire to try and shape media coverage. Despite the seeming acknowledgment by Russians of a political “filter” on information and supposedly being “wise” to it, there is a quantitatively demonstrable – if minimal – effect on the political ideology of society. Media outlets that were critical of the elites, such as NTV during the Chechen War, have had demonstrable negative consequences for their interests; the elites quickly learned this, and measures were quickly undertaken to clamp down on the media’s newfound freedom in the post-Soviet era. According to Masha Lipman, the first war in Chechnya owed a large degree of its unpopularity – and thus a poor outlook for Yeltsin's 1996 re-election – thanks to coverage by the aforementioned once-private network NTV.[96] That sharp criticism of the original war is contrasted by the unanimous support of the second war in 1999. In the coverage of the first war, when the military refused to grant information and access to NTV, the NTV turned to an alternative source: the Chechens themselves. This grew far more risky under Putin and the later establishment of the Media Ministry. According to Ivan Zasurskiy, regarding the first Chechen War the media displayed a remarkable degree of principle. Media coverage was the first significant, long-term occurrence of press criticism towards the administration; however, despite its damaging effect against the administration, the media came out from the confrontation weakened – the battle between the two was a draw, but not one soon forgotten.
Нужно было либо признать верховную власть президента, граничащую с диктатурой, – и тем самым признать, что эта диктатура была создана усилиями «демократической» печати и ТВ... несмотря на то, что средствам массовой информации удалось нанести серьезный урон партии власти, в конце концов «четвертая власть» вышла из этого противостояния побежденной, хотя со стороны могло показаться, что получилась «ничья».[97]

            Putin, thrust into the position of president by Yeltsin's resignation, has been a fast learner. Although Yeltsin managed to hold onto power in 1996, his approval ratings were as low as 2% at one point. [98]The new regime had to avoid this, solidifying power after establishing it. Exercising minimalistc control in lieu of micromanagement and legalistic repression, as well as defacto control through affiliated business interests, there is little doubt that – at least in the case of television – the media is a Kremlin mouthpiece. In 1999, Boris Berezovsky – then an ally of Putin – smeared Putin's political rivals through the directed use of kompromat, or compromising materials, along with the aforementioned biases and unbalanced coverage present in Russian media. Berezovsky was closely associated with “the Family”, the Kremlin inner circle, and was the most important minority shareholder in the ORT channel. Additionally, he owned or controlled Kommersant, Novye izvestiya, Nezavisimaya gazeta and TV-6. Beyond his association with the Kremlin, his interests were personal; Primakov, a rival of Putin, had previously investigated Berezovsky's rapid enrichment when Primakov was prime minister. In a scathing response, Primakov would later write comparing this to the activities of propaganda minister Goebbels in Nazi Germany.[99]
            With the notable exception of the issuance of temnyky in 2003 and 2004, Ukraine has also lacked much in the way of direct censorship. A 1999 US State Department report accuses Kuchma of interfering with freedom of the press particularly during the run up to the elections, and that censorship was primarily self-imposed due to tax investigations and libel measures.[100] In 2003, as earlier mentioned, Kuchma’s administration began directing what events to cover and how to cover them, but towards the end of the election the media began ignoring these directives. According to a 2004 US State Department report,
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the authorities often did not respect these rights in practice. During most of the year, the authorities took a direct role in instructing the media on events and issues it should cover and how they should be covered. However, toward the very end of the presidential election campaign in November, many media outlets began to ignore government direction and covered events in a more objective, professional manner. This aptly named "journalists' rebellion" gained significant momentum on November 25, when Ukrainian National Television (UT 1) sign language interpreter Natalya Dmytruk departed from her approved script and informed viewers that the official election results announced on November 23 were false, adding that "Yushchenko is our President." In the wake of the Orange Revolution, top media watchdog organizations asserted that the media were generally more free and politically diverse than at any time in the country's modern history.[101]

Some degree of direct censorship has recently returned in Ukraine, although the target has now shifted. In the wake of the 2014 Revolution, there has been a crackdown on Russian and “pro-separatist” media outlets, drawing the criticism of even Western observers. On September 11th, 2014, the Kiev-based Vesti newspaper was shut down for “violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” which drew the ire of the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Ukraine has a list of barred Russian journalists, and has shut down most Russia-based television channels. [102]

Rational Analysis: The Party of Power
            At first glance, it would appear that United Russia – formerly known as Unity – represents the return to a single party system with minority parties allowed to operate on an unequal level, if only to present a thin veneer of democracy. Regardless, Putin's regime is not solely personalistic, nor is it solely single party. While United Russia exists as a “party of power,” it lacks a coherent ideology and exists more as a “rubber stamp” for decisions of the president. Putin himself is not and has never been officially a member of the party.[103] United Russia owes much of its creation to Putin's use of Yeltsin's former loyal elites in the media, and its practically unwavering support of Putin is where it maintains its support.
            Arguably, the difference in coverage in the first Chechen War, the 1999-2000 period was the only time that TV channels were distinctly oriented in different political directions in Russia, excluding a brief post-Soviet flurry of ideological platforms. A clear correlation of political allegiances and media preference is shown by the survey-based research of Stephen White, Sarah Oates, and Ian McAllister in 2005. The researchers found that not only was there clear biases on the part of Unity voters to prefer state media in the 1999 Duma elections and likewise with Putin voters in the 2000 Presidential elections, but also that – through regression analysis – state media was significant in Putin's victories.
...television had major but quite selective effects on the vote in both the Duma and presidential elections. These effects remained important even after we had controlled for a range of socio-economic and attitudinal factors, and after we had purged the effects of reciprocal causation between media exposure and vote choice... Overall, the analysis we have presented is strongly supportive of the conclusion that it was ORT that had ‘won it’ in the Duma contest, paving the way for an easy victory for Vladimir Putin three months later. It was ORT, and state television more generally, that had helped to create a party at very short notice.”[104]

A research project by Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya found similar results. By comparing NTV availability, measured by transmission strength to subregions, “the vote for Unity was significantly smaller in subregions with higher NTV availability... a 10% increase in NTV availability in a subregion leads to a decrease of the vote for Unity of 1.55 percentage points.”[105]
            Media bias, while less empirically researched to date, did not stop in Putin's initial consolidation of power or the creation of Unity – later United Russia. According to Gehlbach's calculations using data from NewsLab Russia, Medvedev received four minutes more coverage on the average evening news broadcast than the other three candidates combined in 2008.[106]
            In Ukraine, there has not been the level of success in either political or media consolidation. According to Valerie Bunche, Michael McFaul, and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss in Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Postcommunist World, Ukraine in the 2000s was characterized by a weak ruling party strength, a medium coercive strength, and low state economic control – in comparison to Russia’s medium with the initial two and high in the latter. [107] Perhaps then, given these structural factors, it was not irrational for media outlets, oligarchs, and journalists to openly defy Kuchma. There was not the same level of risk.

Rational Analysis: Direct Censorship – Foreign Media and the Internet
In recent years there has been the establishment of what is arguably direct censorship. Foreign media and many Internet media outlets do not share the same sort of structuralist and cultural factors that play in traditional mass media. For example, a foreign owned media outlet is neither dependent on state funding, and may employ foreign but Russian speaking journalists with a different cultural sense of journalism. The Internet, by common sense, is used by the urban youth. Giddens stated controlling information would become more – not less – difficult for authoritarian regimes. The reverse seems to be true. While he had written optimistically about the Internet – and, for a time, it seemed as though that might be a bastion of freedom – the cadres are clamping down.
“An authoritarian regime tries to control information, and it can do so to some degree, but it is much harder now than 20 years ago. We live in a world monitored by a global community where things are more visible. Every time you switch on your computer or use the internet you are contributing to globalisation processes. A world where everything is more visible has consequences for the nature of democracy and the legitimacy of existing democratic systems.”[108]

In Russia, beyond the continued informal control of the media, in recent years the Putin regime has undergone extensive legal reforms regarding the media – particularly in terms of consolidation and the Internet and foreign owned media. Foreign owned media, at least formally, has yet to endure significant repression. An attempt by Yevgeny Fedorov to pass a bill requiring media with half of their funding from foreign sources to register as foreign agents, much like has been done with NGOs, ultimately failed.[109] Of course, it should be noted that even domestic giants are not immune from consolidation, as RIA-Novosti and Voice of Russia are no more, having been replaced with Rossiya Segodnya – not to be confused with RT, formerly known as Russia Today, which operates as Russia's state-owned foreign media. The agency is headed by Dmitry Kiselev, a notoriously anti-Western TV anchor.[110]
The domestic cable news outlet Dozhd, which had covered the protests against Putin in 2011-2012 and had a significant online presence, was taken off the air due to refusal of cable services to host its channel.[111] With the Internet, once regarded as the last remaining vestige of independent media, the anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny has been continuously under house arrest as part of pending charges on defrauding two companies, this despite one supposed victim – Yves Rocher – writing to prosecutors denying damages.[112] The Russian social media giant Vkontakte forced its CEO and opponent of Putin – Pavel Durov – out from leadership, and he later fled the country. Replacing him are two key Putin supporters, Alisher Usmanov and Igor Sechin.[113] Even more concerning, if implemented, is the new law requiring writers with over 3,000 visitors a day to register with the state, subject to the same regulations as the mass media.[114]
A year after the 2011 protests in Moscow, the agency Roskomnadzor was created. The agency maintains a central blacklist of blocked sites which are used by Russian Internet Service Providers in directly censoring content; according to the agency’s own website, it acts as a “unified register of the domain names, website references, and network addresses that allow identifying websites containing information circulation of which is forbidden in the Russian Federation.”[115] Two prominent Kremlin foes – namely Alexei Navalny and Garry Kasparov – have had their websites blocked by the agency. Roskomnadzor’s reasoning was that Navalny’s blog violated the terms of his house arrest, and other sites called for “illegal activity and participation in mass events conducted in violation of the established order.” [116] According to Robert McMillan, writing for Wired,
Ostensibly, the Roskomnadzor’s blacklist is there to keep what Russia considers to be dangerous content from the internet—things like suicide instructions, drug cookbooks, and information about terrorist organizations. But critics see it as a first step toward shuttering dissent.[117]

In 2014, the Duma passed a law forcing foreign companies – such as Google and Twitter – to store data from Russian users inside of Russia. [118]
            In Ukraine, a 2010 report by the OpenNet Initiative credits in part the 2005 Orange Revolution in the continuance of “unfettered access to the Internet,” while simultaneously warning that a legal structure was in place for future censorship. Still, the report concludes, “The country possesses an Internet infrastructure that is more oriented toward European ISPs, and this orientation diminishes the influence of any filtering behavior on the part of Russian ISPs.”[119] Even in 2013, Freedom House ranked Ukraine’s Internet Freedom Status as 27 out of 100, with 100 being the least free. [120]

            The problem of de-democratization in the post-Soviet world is multifaceted. The case studies of Ukraine and Russia demonstrate this; even examining mass media as a microcosm, there is not one singular cause readily identifiable utilizing any of the three methods of analysis. Both Russia and Ukraine share a problem of a politically efficacious media that is ruled by elites rather than serving public interest. Both share a communist past and view information as a commodity. Whereas there may be a significant cultural difference between Russians and Ukrainians and how they approach civil society, I do not find this to be as significant as Masha Lipman. If there is a primary difference from Russia in the Ukrainian case, it is in the media ownership structure with oligarchs who are significantly less loyal to the state and a lack of power consolidation in the state. No Ukrainian leader has consolidated power as Putin did, this despite Kuchma’s attempts at subverting opposition media through more direct means. Russia has had only two real leaders since the fall of the Soviet Union – discounting Medvedev – and leaders who were more tolerant of liberal and democratic ideas such as Yuschenko had a profound effect on Ukrainian civil society.
While it is true that democratic institutions never truly took hold in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet collapse, the situation is less democratic than its initial years as a result of institutions being immediately subverted by the elites before they even had a real chance to solidify. Putin not only continued that trend, but mastered it. Without independent viability, media are inescapably dependent on legal and financial favor with the elites. Coercion in the form of unequal enforcement of the law, quasilegal measures, and violence ultimately determine the power relationship between journalists and the state. Culturally, a lack of demand for journalistic professionalism plagues the state of civil society in Russia, and cynicism towards the media and democratization paints an ominous future for a cultural re-evaluation of democracy. Unlike in Ukraine, where the censorship is now directed more towards Russian and separatist media, Russian elites rationally continue to consolidate further power over the media given a lack of domestic resistance to their efforts, and the demonstrable effects of media on political persuasion. As Giddens lectured, “In Russia ... gangster capitalism is rife, and strong authoritarian overtones persist from the past, a more open and democratic society can't be built in only a top down manner. It has to be constructed bottom up, through a revival of civic culture.” [121] I ultimately argue that the most significant difference between Ukraine and Russia is the differentiation between the media ownership structure, rather than state makeup or culture, given the similarities in both.
All Last Accessed 10 February 2015.
Based in part on previous research in Dr. Nylen’s Comparative Politics Course and Dr. Huskey’s Russian Politics Course

Primary Sources
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            A Yeltsin era law on press freedom.
Lipman, Masha. “How Russia Is Not Ukraine: The Closing of Russian Civil Society.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Jan 2005. <>.
McMillan, Robert. “Russia’s Creeping Descent Into Internet Censorship.” Wired. 10 Dec. 2014.
Norris, Pippa. “Ukrainians Are Not That Divided In Their Views Of Democracy.” The Washington Post – Blogs. 3 Mar. 2014. <>.
OpenNet Initiative. Ukraine – 2010. <>.
Piatetsky, Peter. “Russia’s New Leader: Fan of the Internet.” The New York Times. 14 Apr. 2008. <>.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.Opposition Dozhd TV Appears To Be Latest Victim Of Kremlin Pressure.” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. 31 Jan. 2014. <>.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.Russian Court Extends Navalny's House Arrest By Six Months.” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. 24 Apr. 2014. <>.
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RIA-Novosti.Deputies Withdraw Bill To Label Media Firms 'Foreign Agents.'” RIA-Novosti. 22 Jan. 2014. <>.
Roskomnadzor. Unified Register. <>.
Rozadovskyy, Oleh. “Media Landscapes: Ukraine.” European Journalism Centre. <>.
Russian Constitution. Government-provided translation. <>.
Tran, Mark. “A Bold Buffoon.” The Guardian. 23 April 2007. <>.
Tetrault-Farber, Gabrielle. “Moscow Court Upholds Extremism Warning Issued to Ekho Moskvy Radio Station.” The Moscow Times. 27 Jan. 2015. <>.
Sukhov, Oleg. “The Media War Behind the Ukraine Crisis.” The Moscow Times. 11 Mar. 2014. <>.
U.S. Department of State. Ukraine – 1999 Report on Human Rights Practices. 23 Feb. 2000. <>.
U.S. Department of State. Ukraine – 1999 Report on Human Rights Practices. 28 Feb. 2005.
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Закон РФ от 21.07.1993 N 5485-1 (ред. от 21.12.2013) "О государственной тайне" (21 июля 1993 г.) <>.
            The relevant law on government secrets.

Secondary Sources
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This is a paper submitted at a 2002 conference in Scotland by then doctoral candidate Laura Belin, examining the difference in media coverage between the first and second Chechen wars.
Bigg, Claire. “State-Owned Gazprom Buys Leading Independent Daily 'Izvestiya.' Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 3 June 2005. <>.
A brief news article by RFE/RL, an American funded media outlet, on Gazprom – a state owned company – purchasing a popular independent newspaper.
D'Anieri, Paul J. Understanding Ukrainian Politics: Power, Politics, and Institutional Design. (Sharpe, Nov. 2006), pp 220-221.
D'Amora, Delphine. “Russia Tightens Control Over Foreign Ownership of Print Media.” The Moscow Times, 16 Nov. 2014. <>.
Daniloff, Nicholas. “Yeltsin, the Press, and the New Constitution: Will Glasnost Survive Presidential Power in Russia?” Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, (Winter 1993). <>. 
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Dyczok, Marta. “Was Kuchma’s Censorship Effective? Mass Media in Ukraine Before 2004.” Europe-Asia Studies, 58.2: (Mar. 2006). pp 224.
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Gans-Morse, Jordan. “Searching for Transitologists: Contemporary Theories of Post-Communist Transitions and the Myth of a Dominant Paradigm.” <>.
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Giddens, Anthony. “Reith Lectures: Runaway World.” BBC. 5 May 1999. <>.
Giddens, Anthony. “Reith Lectures Revisited.” London School of Economics. 10 November 1999. <>.
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[1]      Jordan Gans-Morse. “Searching for Transitologists: Contemporary Theories of Post-Communist Transitions and the Myth of a Dominant Paradigm.” pp 328.
[2]     Giddens, Anthony. “Reith Lectures Revisited.” London School of Economics. 10 November 1999. pp 76.
[3]     Ibid. pp 77.
[4]    Giddens, Anthony. “Reith Lectures: Runaway World.” BBC. 5 May 1999. pp 5.
[5]     Richard Sakwa. Putin Redux (Third Avenue: Routledge, 2014), pp 2-3.
[6]     Freedom House. Freedom of the Press 2002: Global Press Freedom Rankings.
[7]     Freedom House. Freedom of the Press 2013: Global Press Freedom Rankings.
[8]     Freedom House. Freedom of the Press 2013: Central and Eastern Europe / Eurasia.
[9] Oleh Rozadovskyy. “Media Landscapes: Ukraine.” European Journalism Centre.
[10]    Sakwa, Richard. Putin Redux (Third Avenue: Routledge, 2014). pp 223.
[11]     Ibid. pp 22
[12]     Ibid. pp 21
[13]     Ibid. pp 32
[14]     Ibid. pp 162-164
[15]   Sarah Oates. “The Neo-Soviet Model of the Media.” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 59, No. 8 (Dec., 2007), pp 1279.
[16]     Ibid. pp 1279.
[17]     Ibid. pp 1280-1283.
[18]     Ibid. pp 1285.
[19]     Ibid.
[20]     Ibid. pp 1286.
[21]   Hedwig De Smaele. “Mass Media and the Information Climate in Russia.” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 59, No. 8 (Dec., 2007). pp 1299.
[22]     Ibid. pp 1299.
[23]     Ibid. pp 1305.
[24]     Ibid. pp 1300.
[25]     Ibid. pp 1302.
[26]  Ibid. pp 1310.
[27]   Stephen White, Sarah Oates and Ian McAllister. “Media Effects and Russian Elections, 1999-2000.” British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr. 2005), pp 191-208.
[28] Ibid. pp 192.
[29] Ibid.
[30] Ibid. pp 198.
[31] Ibid. pp 199.
[32] Daphne Skillen. “The Next General Elections in Russia: What Role for the Media?” Europe-Asia Studies: 59.8 (Dec 2007). pp 1265.
[33] Marta Dyczok. “Was Kuchma’s Censorship Effective? Mass Media in Ukraine Before 2004.” Europe-Asia Studies, 58.2: (Mar. 2006). pp 224.
[34] Ibid. pp 218.
[35] Ibid. pp 220.
[36] Ibid. pp 221.
[37] Ibid.
[38] Ibid. pp 222.
[39] Ibid. pp. 226.
[40] Ibid. pp. 225.
[41] Ibid. pp. 228.
[42] Ibid.
[43] Natalya Ryabinska. “Media Capture in Post-Communist Ukraine.” Problems of Post-Communism, (Mar/Apr 2014): 61.2, pp. 47.
[44] Ibid.
[45] Ibid. 49.
[46] Ibid. 54.
[47] Ibid 51.
[48] Natalya, Ryabinska. “The Media Market and Media Ownership in Post-Communism.” Problems of Post-Communism, (Nov/Dec 2011): 58.6. pp 661.
[49] Olga Nikolayenko. “Press Freedom During the 1994 and 1999 Presidential Elections in Ukraine: A Reverse Wave?” Europe-Asia Studies, (Jul 2004): 56.5. pp 662.
[50] Ibid. pp 665.
[51] Ibid. pp 667.
[52] Ibid. pp. 668.
[53]   Sarah Oates. “The Neo-Soviet Model of the Media.” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 59, No. 8 (Dec., 2007), pp 1287.
[54]   Giddens, Anthony. “Reith Lectures Revisited.” London School of Economics. 10 November 1999. pp 11.
[55]   Interview with NBC Television Channel. 12 July 2006. <>.
[56]   Russian Constitution. Government-provided translation. <>.
[57]   Law of the Russian Federation No. 2124-1 Of December 27, 1991 on Mass Media. <>.
[58]   Закон РФ от 21.07.1993 N 5485-1 (ред. от 21.12.2013) "О государственной тайне" (21 июля 1993 г.) <>.
[59]   Hedwig De Smaele. “Mass Media and the Information Climate in Russia.” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 59, No. 8 (Dec., 2007), pp. 1303.
[60] Olga Nikolayenko. “Press Freedom During the 1994 and 1999 Presidential Elections in Ukraine: A Reverse Wave?” Europe-Asia Studies, (Jul 2004): 56.5. pp 670.
[61]   Hedwig De Smaele. “Mass Media and the Information Climate in Russia.” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 59, No. 8 (Dec., 2007), pp. 1303.
[62]   Sarah Oates. Television, Democracy and Elections in Russia. (Routledge: July 2006), pp 22.
[63]   Masha Lipman. “Constrained or Irrelevant: The Media in Putin's Russia.” Current History, Vol. 104, No. 684 (Oct. 2005). pp, 321.
[64]   Nicholas Daniloff. “Yeltsin, the Press, and the New Constitution: Will Glasnost Survive Presidential Power in Russia?” Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, (Winter 1993). <>. 
[65]   Mikhail Gulyaev. “Media as Contested Power in Post-Glasnost Russia.” Post-Soviet Media Law & Policy Newsletter, Issue 29 (April 1996).
[66]   Ibid.
[67]   Ibid.
[68]   Delphine d'Amora. “Russia Tightens Control Over Foreign Ownership of Print Media.” The Moscow Times, 16 Nov. 2014.
[69]   Nicholas Daniloff. “Yeltsin, the Press, and the New Constitution: Will Glasnost Survive Presidential Power in Russia?” Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, (Winter 1993)
[70]   Claire Bigg. “State-Owned Gazprom Buys Leading Independent Daily 'Izvestiya.' Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 3 June 2005.
[71] Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber. “Moscow Court Upholds Extremism Warning Issued to Ekho Moskvy Radio Station.” The Moscow Times. 27 Jan. 2015.
[72]   Paul J. D'Anieri. Understanding Ukrainian Politics: Power, Politics, and Institutional Design. (Sharpe, Nov. 2006), pp 220-221.
[73]   Committee to Protect Journalists. “Successor of Internews Russia Suspends Activity After Police Search.” 23 Apr. 2007.
[74]   IREX. Media Sustainability Index 2005: Russia. pp, 185.
[76]  Anna Dolgov and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber. “Moscow Court Upholds Extremism Warning Issued to Ekho Moskvy Radio Station.” The Moscow Times. 27 Jan. 2015.
[77]   Committee to Protect Journalists. “Russia.”
[78]   Committee to Protect Journalists. “Marked for Death.” 2 May 2005.
[79] Olga Nikolayenko. “Press Freedom During the 1994 and 1999 Presidential Elections in Ukraine: A Reverse Wave?” Europe-Asia Studies, (Jul 2004): 56.5. pp 670.
[80] Reporters Without Borders. Ukraine – Annual Report 2002. 30 Apr. 2002.
[81] Committee To Protect Journalists. “Georgy Gongadze.” 2000.
[82]   Masha Lipman. “Constrained or Irrelevant: The Media in Putin's Russia.” Current History, Vol. 104, No. 684 (Oct. 2005). pp 319-324
[83] Internet World Stats. Russia – Internet Usage and Marketing Report.
[84] Peter Piatetsky. “Russia’s New Leader: Fan of the Internet.” The New York Times – Blogs. 14 Apr. 2008.
[85] Broadcasting Board of Governors. Contemporary Media Use in Ukraine.
[86] Oleg Sukhov. “The Media War Behind the Ukraine Crisis.” The Moscow Times. 11 Mar. 2014.
[87]   Giddens, Anthony. “Reith Lectures Revisited.” London School of Economics. 10 November 1999. pp 85.
[88]   Sarah Oates. “The Neo-Soviet Model of the Media.” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 59, No. 8 (Dec., 2007), pp 1285.
[89]   Ibid. pp1296.
[90]   Masha Lipman. “Constrained or Irrelevant: The Media in Putin's Russia.” Current History, Vol. 104, No. 684 (Oct. 2005). pp  322.
[91]   Hedwig De Smaele. “Mass Media and the Information Climate in Russia.” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 59, No. 8 (Dec., 2007), pp. 1304 – 1305.
[92] Ibid. pp. 1305.
[93]   Hedwig De Smaele. “Mass Media and the Information Climate in Russia.” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 59, No. 8 (Dec., 2007), pp. 1307.
[94] Pippa Norris. “Ukrainians Are Not That Divided In Their Views Of Democracy.” The Washington Post – Blogs. 3 Mar. 2014.
[95] Masha Lipman. “How Russia Is Not Ukraine: The Closing of Russian Civil Society.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Jan 2005.
[96]   Ibid.
[97]    Иван Засурский. «Масс-медиа второй республики.» Московского университета, 1999. Глава 3. МЕДИАТИЗАЦИЯ ПОЛИТИКИ.
[98] Mark Tran. “A Bold Buffoon.” The Guardian. 23 April 2007.
[99]   Stephen White, Sarah Oates and Ian McAllister. British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr. 2005), pp 198-200
[100] U.S. Department of State. Ukraine – 1999 Report on Human Rights Practices. 23 Feb. 2000.
[101] U.S. Department of State. Ukraine – 2004 Report on Human Rights Practices. 28 Feb. 2005.
[102] Fred Weir. “Crackdown in Ukraine Sullies its Democratic Aspirations.” The Christian Science Monitor. 21 Sep. 2014.
[104] Stephen White, Sarah Oates and Ian McAllister. British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr. 2005), pp 205-207.
[105] Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya. “Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from         Russia.” The American Economic Review, Vol. 101, No 7. (Dec. 2011), pp. 3267.
[106] Scott Gehlbach. “Reflections on Putin and the Media.” Post Soviet Affairs, Vol 26 No. 1 (2010). pp 82.
[107] Valerie Bunce, Michael McFaul, and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss. Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Postcommunist World. pp 235.
[108] Giddens, Anthony. “Reith Lectures Revisited.” London School of Economics. 10 November 1999. pp 80.
[109] RIA-Novosti. “Deputies Withdraw Bill To Label Media Firms 'Foreign Agents.'” 22 Jan. 2014.
[110] Ennis, Stephen. “Putin's RIA Novosti Revamp Prompts Propaganda Fears.” BBC Monitoring. 9 Dec. 2013.
[111] “Opposition Dozhd TV Appears To Be Latest Victim Of Kremlin Pressure.” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. 31 Jan. 2014.
[112] “Russian Court Extends Navalny's House Arrest By Six Months.” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. 24 Apr. 2014.
[113] “Pavel Durov: Founder of Russia's Facebook and No Friend of Putin.” The Guardian. 22 Apr. 2014.
[114] Lyudmila Alexandrova. “New Law Restricts Rights of Russian Bloggers.” ITAR-TASS 22 Apr. 2014.
[115] Roskomnadzor. Unified Register. <>.
[116] Steve Gutterman. “Russia Blocks Internet Sites of Putin Critics.” Reuters. 13 Mar. 2014.
[117] Robert McMillan. “Russia’s Creeping Descent Into Internet Censorship.” Wired. 10 Dec. 2014.
[118] Ibid.
[119] OpenNet Initiative. Ukraine – 2010.
[120] Freedom House. Freedom on the Net – Ukraine: 2013.
[121]         Giddens, Anthony. “Reith Lectures: Runaway World.” BBC. 5 May 1999. pp 5.

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