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The vigorously rising plume gives the steam a bubble-like appearance; the surrounding atmosphere has been shoved up by the shock wave of the eruption.

The smooth white cloud on top may be water condensation that resulted from rapid rising and cooling of the air mass above the ash column, and is probably a transient feature (the eruption plume is starting to punch through).

Low-level stratus clouds approach Matua Island from the east, wrapping around the lower slopes of the volcano.

Only about 1.5 km (1 mi) of the coastline of Matua Island (upper center) can be seen beneath the clouds and ash. Russia's eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, which extends far into the Pacific Ocean, includes more than 150 volcanoes.

The country's open media has come under punishing scrutiny as Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to eliminate alternatives to the Kremlin narrative.

Aleksandr Dugin, the conservative political adviser described in this week's "Foreign Affairs" as "Putin's Brain," reposted the list on his Facebook page, saying, "This is the order in which Russia's most contemptible media outlets will be closed or blocked (in the cases of those located outside Russia's borders)." The list -- and Dugin's injunction -- is certain to send a chill through Russia's free-press advocates.

The news site, widely regarded as one of the most objective and professional information sites in Russia, was dealt a massive blow in mid-March, when its longtime editor and several senior staff members were fired for the publication of a Right Sector profile that linked to "extremist" content.

Popular Dozhd TV -- which provided some of the most gripping live coverage of Russia's massive election-season protests in 2012 -- was forced to launch a fundraiser last week after it was dropped by cable operators protesting an online poll deemed unpatriotic.

The Office of Public Affairs (OPA) is the single point of contact for all inquiries about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

We read every letter, fax, or e-mail we receive, and we will convey your comments to CIA officials outside OPA as appropriate.

(RFE/RL's Russian Service, Radio Svoboda, ranks 6th on the list.) More worryingly, the list is also being interpreted by some Kremlin supporters as a ready-made kill list.

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