Russia is the global champion of free speech. There, citizens and journalists enjoy an unlimited freedom to speak their minds. In this regard, Russia has largely swapped places with the West, where freedom of speech is progressively disappearing. In Russia, one is free to say “I like Putin” or “I don’t like Putin”; one can say “I like gays” or “I don’t like gays.” In America, however, saying “I like Putin but I don’t like gays” would amount to suicide.
The 2019 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) puts Russia in 149th place out of 180 countries ranked for media freedom. The organization attributes this ranking to website blocking, marginalization of independent media outlets, pollution of the information space with government propaganda, and deployment of "draconian media legislation". In the US, all speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, "unless it is intended and likely to incite imminent violence."