With little fanfare outside Moscow, Russia's last independent national television broadcaster was closed down this week. Many westerners are seeing this as one more step in Russian premier Vladimir Putin's clampdown of all opposition. Outside watchers criticize Putin's dismissal of regional governments and silencing of the news media, but among the Russian people, Putin enjoys huge approval ratings, and a growing economy. President Bush says Putin is a true friend. But is this friend taking Russia back to semi-authoritarian rule?
Marshall Goldman, author of over a dozen books on the former Soviet Union;
Anders Aslund, Senior Associate of the Post-Soviet Economies in Transition at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
This program aired on January 23, 2002.