While switching TV channels in an attempt to learn more about the debate between the two presidential candidates, all Russian audience got to see was an altered version of the debate between the current American president Bush and Senator Kerry without a single mentioning of Vladimir Putin's criticism.
During the discussion of the last question of the presidential debate, both candidates shared their own perspectives regarding Russia (i.e. changes of voting rights, which only strengthen Putin’s authority, who is himself a former KGB agent, thus bringing Russian democracy to a zero).
However, none of these critical remarks have been mentioned on the 1st National channel during Friday’s report. Reports of other channels, which “serve” Kremlin, failed to mention the issues raised by Bush and Kerry as well. This only proves Kremlin’s policy in regards to the whole “freedom of press” notion.
“In times of almost complete lack of criticism of Putin’s administration within the country, it was especially nerve-wracking to hear criticism from the so-called George Bush’s partner or a possible future president of the US Kerry,” says Chief Editor of the independent radio “Echo of Moscow” Alexei Venediktov.
During Putin's regime all national channels are under Kremlin's strict control; this is essentially what Kerry has said during his speech last week, reports MSNBC.
During the course of the debate, which took place last Thursday, debate moderator Jim Lehrer has asked Bush whether he got disappointed in Putin after relying too much on the alliance to fight terrorism rather than on the faults of democratic process in Russia.
“No, I don't think it's OK, and said so publicly, -stated Bush. - I think that there needs to be checks and balances in a democracy, and made that very clear that by consolidating power in the central government, he's sending a signal to the Western world and United States that perhaps he doesn‘t believe in checks and balances, and I told him that.”
As for Kerry, the Senator stated the following while commenting Putin’s latest actions: “I think it goes beyond just the response to terror. Mr. Putin now controls all the television stations. His political opposition is being put in jail.”
Perhaps, Kerry meant Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the wealthiest oil-tycoon in Russia, who's been charged with fraud and skimming. Khodorkovsky in turn alleges that the charges are of political nature and deal with his support of the oppositional parties, notes MSNBC.