Independent writing and publishing is under threat in modern Russia. The government regularly publishes a list of 'banned books' which are not to be sold in bookshops. Though legitimately published, these books are now in the strange position of being circulated like the samizdat books of the Soviet era (and subsequent editions must presumably be printed in the old basement style.)
Ostensible criteria for the banned list are: books which 'promote' drug use, books which directly criticise the present government, and (ironically) books which criticise the Christian church.
The publisher of William Burroughs' 'Junky', Hunter S Thompson's 'Fear & Loathing' and Tony White's 'Satan Satan Satan' (all banned) has suffered at the hands of the Russian government, waking up one morning to find his bed surrounded by police, and awaking shortly after that in a mental hospital — this was a mere 'warning' (he was released after two weeks by an annoyed doctor, who found he was healthy and was baffled as to why he was there). The publisher was also locked out of his bank account.
While in some Western countries the police are seen as a state-sponsored street gang, in Russia the government hire actual street gangs to carry out some of their work for the purpose of deniability: this year the offices of T-ough Press were fire-bombed and a year ago two independent bookstores underwent a similar attack. In many ways the government has changed only in name and the system continues much as before, using many of the same techniques.
Some new methods have been imported from the capitalist West, however. While the Soviet government claimed to have eliminated class but only eliminated the middle one, the vast gap between haves and have-nots is now a matter of money as well as influence. The uncategorized mish-mash of 'modern' and Soviet-style manipulation in Russia is hard for western commentators to get their heads around and requires too much 'backstory' to describe, and so most western media simply ignores it (until someone known to the West is assassinated, and still the story is not adequately explained).There was more coverage of Russia when the original Iron Curtain existed, because criticism could be used for political ends. Now the Russian leadership is a 'friend' and his methods too similar to those of Western countries to make criticism of it a comfortable experience.