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Official website of the President of Russia

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President Vladimir Putin met with spokesmen of the NTV television company

January 29, 2001, The Kremlin, Moscow

They discussed the situation around financial and crediting problems of the Media-Most holding, the largest NTV shareholder.

Mr Putin said the NTV should retain its integrity and non-government status irrespective of who would hold its controlling stake. He referred to the channel as one of Russia’s most professional media outlets.

NTV spokesmen called Mr Putin’s attention to prosecution officers pressuring the company and alleged a political undercurrent of the pressure. In response, Mr Putin said he did not think he could interfere in Media-Most financial settlements, while stressing that debts must be paid.

Mr Putin said that the Prosecutor General’s Office was duty-bound to comply with the law and moral values, and that any moves and accusations could be contested judicially.

Mr Putin said that frequent NTV criticism of the authorities was not only normal but also useful.

January 29, 2001, The Kremlin, Moscow