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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

World View




A move by Vladimir Putin ? to clip the wings of his country's formidable business barons was widely anticipated. If he is going to reassert the power of the state over the financial oligarchs who usurped much of its authority during the Kremlin rule of Boris Yeltsin, that is necessary. But the decision to arrest Vladimir Gusinsky, the media tycoon, raises a number of questions.


He is neither one of the most powerful nor one of the most notorious of that group. His real claim to fame is that his Media-Most group owns the television station NTV and Segodnya newspaper among others f outspoken critics of Mr. Putin's government. In particular, they have questioned the conduct of the war in Chechnya. They have undoubtedly reflected the inclinations of their owner but they have also been healthily outspoken. In so doing, they have been helping ensure that the press acts as a critic of government f an essential element in Russia's slow progress towards democracy. ?


The president does not appear to be a believer in glasnost, the openness introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev ? By allowing exposure of the iniquities, incompetence and corruption of the previous regime, glasnost ensured there was no going back. By definition, however, glasnost was inimical to the old KGB security service f Mr. Putin's secretive former employer.


f June 14