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These world-famous groups have Russia keeping company with the likes of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia. They say that Putin jails journalists he can't intimidate and kills journalists he can't jail. They say he dominates all mass communications media, particularly television, which is wholly owned and operated by the Kremlin and serves as the dominant source of news for most Russians. And they say Putin's attacks are not limited to traditional media, but rather are increasingly targeted at the internet, choking it off as a source of criticism before even half of the population has been able to access it.
Let's not forget the poster child for this crackdown, under way now for quite some time. Six years ago last November, former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko was beginning to report and document his theory that the Kremlin was responsible for the bombs that exploded in Moscow in September 1999 -- bombings which were used as the pretext for Putin's invasion of Chechnya days later. Litvinenko was then murdered in Britain, via highly exotic radioactive toxins, and then the man fingered for the killing, Andrei Lugovoi, was given not just protection by the Kremlin, but a seat in the Russian parliament.
Putin has seen rising street protests against his government and open challenges to his authority by figures like Alexei Navalny and Boris Nemtsov. Navalny is now facing an indictment that could send him to prison for ten years. Nemtsov could be next