Vladimir Putin: State Will Not Step In Tv-6 Affairs

Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that the state will not interfere with the TV-6 situation. The controversy surrounding this Russian television channel is "a dispute between entirely independent economic structures, to which the state is actually unrelated", the president stressed in an interview to the Polish mass media on the eve of his visit to Poland. Putin said that the free press in Russia "is actually in the stage of development". In this connection, he declared the need of "creating an economic basis on which the free, independent press could exist on its own". Simultaneously, the Russian judicial, administrative system will strengthen and conditions will be created for "journalists to be able to perform their professional duties independently of anybody", assured the Russian president. He stressed that after the breakup of the Soviet Union "the threat of Russia developing along the oligarchic road emerged, when individuals approaching power and partly monopolising it, produced an impact on political processes on-going in the country in disregard of general national interests". Bypassing democratic institutions and using material resources they gained in the course of privatisation, these people "often illegally put them to use for attaining their parochial interest". "It is often a case with us that a person who has got drunk with vodka and beaten up his neighbour gets five years in prison for hooliganism. He who has stolen a sack of potatoes is imprisoned for stealing and looked upon as a thief. But those who have illegally cashed in fortunes of dozens and hundreds of millions of dollars are political figures", said Putin. To him, "these persons have nothing to do with democracy and, gaining an influence over the mass media, protect their own commercial interests, rather than the freedom of speech".

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