Assassinated journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, on democratic progress under Vladimir Putin- Time Man of the Year- in her posthumous book, A Russian Diary:
The checks and balances within the state vanished, and the only restraint was the President's conscience. Alas, the nature of the man and the nature of his former profession( major in the KGB) meant that was not enough.
One of the checks and balances being the sinking into abject propaganda of the mainstream press- which presumably explains why Putin would appeal to the ethos of a Western propaganda giant like Time- and Politkovskaya was the 13th Russian journalist to be killed in a contract-style killing since Putin came to power in 2000. Presumably just an extraordinary run of bad luck for journalists.
In a reference to the KGB's successor, the federal security service FSB, Viktor Shenderovich, a well-known radio and television commentator, said "The culprits will never be found, because the people who will be investigating this murder walk down the same corridors as those who ordered it."
Putin touchingly paid tribute to Politkovskaya the next day: "The degree of her influence on the country’s political development was insignificant. And her assassination harms the leadership a lot more than her publications ever did."