"Now we do not have an Iron Curtain, we have a newspaper curtain. "
Evgeny Yevtushenko. 
Though Russia has gone through significant domestic changes since 1991, the extent of Russia's achievements rarely have been acknowledged in the Western media. Instead, Russia has been continuously criticized for not developing fast enough. Western media, especially that of the USA, ignores Russia's positive developments and concentrates on the negative.
Russia made significant changes from the Soviet totalitarian system, but instead of acknowledging this progress, the country is characterized by simplistic and misleading historical analogies associated with the KGB, the Soviet Union, and repressive government control.  The opinions of Russian citizens on their political system or their president, as well as the actions by the Russian state that do not fit the description of 'dictatorial power' are typically omitted from Western media coverage.  The result of this selection bias builds up over time to make an overall negative image of the country and its president.
Creating an external threat in the eyes of Americans and Europeans is now an instrument of uniting these countries on foreign policy issues, as expressed by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his The Grand Chessboard: "As America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." 
The news on Russia became consistently negative after 2000. Any news on positive development inside Russia, or about Russia's positive international involvements were ignored, meanwhile, negative news received immediate attention. Just few examples from that period can illustrate this claim.