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Dorenko Program Has Plug Pulled

Published: September 12, 2000 (Issue # 602)


MOSCOW - ORT yanked Sergei Dorenko, its outspoken anchor and a close Boris Berezovsky ally, off the air over the weekend in a sign that the Kremlin was closing its grip over the channel.

Berezovsky had last week declared that he was handing over his 49-percent ORT stake in trust to a group of 14 journalists and intellectuals - Dorenko included - over what he claimed was a Kremlin threat to clamp down on press freedom.

The government owns the controlling 51-percent stake in the station.

ORT general director Konstantin Ernst told Dorenko, who is also deputy director of the station, just hours before broadcast Saturday that the analytical program was being pulled from the evening lineup.

Ernst said in a statement that Dorenko had refused to keep quiet about Berezovsky's decision to hand over his stake, and the "emotional tension surrounding the situation threatens ORT's normal work."

But Dorenko, who had just the weekend before fiercely lashed out at President Vladimir Putin over his handling of the Kursk submarine disaster, said Monday that it was Putin who had ordered Ernst to take his program off the air.

"If you know the logic of bureaucrats, they always wait until he [Putin] waves his hand," Dorenko said at a news conference.

Dorenko said he lost his show because he had steadfastly refused to ally himself with Putin, which would have meant the anchorman could no longer air criticisms of the president and his allies.

The journalist said he met with Putin at least four times since September 1999. At their most recent meeting on Aug. 29, Putin said he had broken all ties with Berezovsky and asked the ORT anchor for his support, Dorenko said.

Berezovsky is widely believed to have played a large role in plucking Putin from relative obscurity last year and propelling him to the Kremlin. Dorenko himself helped boost Putin's rising star last year by broadcasting a series of scathing reports about one-time presidential contenders such as former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although thesand sculptures at the Peter and Paul Fortress are more centrally located and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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