Independent and free media are a key instrument in fighting corruption. But in today’s Russia, this instrument has itself been corrupted and misused. The Russian government has deliberately taken control over the major national media outlets, including TV channels, radio stations, print media, and Internet resources. Only a few publications remain free and are able to fulfill their duties. As competition on the world media market becomes fiercer, traditional media in all countries are looking for new ways of surviving and are becoming more susceptible to corruption. The problem is universal, but in Russia’s case it is aggravated by president Vladimir Putin’s corrupt political regime. Corruption has poisoned Russian media on both levels—institutional and individual. The objectives of this research are as follows: to investigate the main methods of corrupting the media and the journalists that the Russian government has employed; to trace the effects that such corruption can have on media content and, as a result, on public opinion; and to determine whether the few free media can contribute to overcoming this negative trend.

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