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Revisionism Under Fire After Controversial Poll

Published: January 29, 2014 (Issue # 1795)



  • A recent survey asked whether Leningrad should have surrendered.
    Photo: wikimedia commons

Russian legislators have threatened to criminalize World War II revisionism after being outraged by an online survey that asked if Leningrad should have surrendered to the Nazis.

The poll appeared on Sunday on the website of the liberal online television channel Dozhd (Rain).

It was taken down within minutes but still sparked a vehement backlash.

Such actions should always be treated as a crime of restoring Nazism, ultraconservative lawmaker Irina Yarovaya of the ruling United Russia party said Monday.

The populist Liberal Democratic Party will draft a bill to criminalize insulting and desecrating the memory of the Great Patriotic War, party member Igor Lebedev said Monday, using the Russian name for World War II.

Lebedev, a deputy speaker of parliament, did not give a time frame or say what the proposed punishment under the law would be.

The TV channel apologized for the poll on Twitter on Monday, calling it a mistake by the producer...and the social network editor.

A supposed screenshot of the poll available on Twitter showed that 54 percent supported the would-be surrender of Leningrad. The number of respondents was not specified.

Leningrad lost between 600,000 and 1.5 million of its 2.5 million prewar population, by various estimates, during the Nazi siege from 1941 to 1944.

The city, since renamed St. Petersburg, celebrated the 70th anniversary of the sieges end on Monday.

Russia has attempted to regulate history before. A Kremlin commission against the falsification of history existed in 2009-2012 and unified guidelines for school history lessons were drafted last year on the direct order of President Vladimir Putin.

Three bills criminalizing the restoration of Nazism have been filed with parliament since 2010, the latest, from last year, drafted by Yarovaya. All remain in legislative limbo.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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