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Some Russian media balance glasnost against the bottom line

(CNN) -- Barely a decade has passed since the policy of glasnost, or "openness," swept through the former Soviet Union, bringing freedom of expression to the media.

The government's tight grip on what newspaper and broadcast journalists could say yielded to a free press capable of openly criticizing the government. The policy was praised at home and abroad, and it was credited with helping to bring about the demise of the Soviet Union.

Now, to stay in business in the volatile Russian economy, some papers and broadcast outlets in the province of Volgograd are voluntarily agreeing to report just what the government gives them, in exchange for financial breaks.

In this piece highlighted by CNN.com's "y: why it matters" analysis feature, CNN correspondent Steve Harrigan examines how this is playing out in the province's primary city of Volgograd.

The city of about 1 million people sits on the Volga River roughly 600 miles (960 kilometers) south of Moscow. Formerly known as Stalingrad, the city is famous as the site of the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II.

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Steve Harrigan

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CNN's Steve Harrigan says some Russian media outlets swap right to criticize government for financial breaks

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RELATED STORIES:
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CNN.com Weather: Volgograd, Russia

RELATED SITES:
CIA World Factbook 2000: Russia
ITAR-TASS Russian News Agency
Interfax Information Services
National News Service
Russian National News Service (in Russian)
Pravda (in Russian)
Volgograd Online
Volgograd, Russia Commerical Report 1999

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