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Lenins Law Applied to Dozhd TV

Published: January 5, 2014 (Issue # 1796)


Thesensation was online coverage about events that took place 70 years ago: Thesiege ofLeningrad during World War II. Dozhd TV asked their viewers toanswer aquestion: Should Leningrad have surrendered tothe Nazis tosave thousands oflives? Thesurvey was not even over before all hell broke loose. Through Twitter, Culture MinisterVladimir Medinskywrote, They are not human, referring tothe Dozhd journalists who thought up thepoll.

Theincident was discussed bythe St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, where theinfamous opponent ofliberalism andtolerance, deputy Vitaly Milonov, demonstrated his ownintolerance. I am astonished that 54 percent ofthe cretins who watch Dozhd TV said, Yes, Leningrad should have surrendered. Apack ofhyenas! Milonov said.

Authorities admitted that Dozhd TV did not break any laws byrunning acontroversial poll onthe Leningrad blockade. But atthe same time, they argue thestation violated moral andethical laws.

Atthe initiative ofthe Legislative Assembly, theSt. Petersburg prosecutors office began toinvestigate whether thetelevision station had demonstrated extremism, acrime that is punishable bya five-year jail term. Inlight ofthis serious threat, Dozhd TV managers sent out memos tothe staff onhow tobehave during asearch.

Thesiege ofLeningrad is certainly one ofthe most painful events ofWorld War II andone with many unanswered questions tobe sure. More civilians died during thesiege atleast 630,000 than British andFrench soldiers together died over theentire course ofthe war. Historians have also tried tounderstand why food supply lines tothe city were organized so poorly, especially incomparison with theblockade ofWest Berlin from1948 to1949. Thehistory ofthe siege cannot be told without thestories ofheroism bythe citys defenders or without horrible stories ofvile human behavior, like thesumptuous feasts enjoyed bycity party leadership.

Despite all ofthe noise around theDozhd TV scandal, none ofthis is news. Even grade school textbooks ask children todiscuss almost theexact same question posed byDozhd TV. SatiristViktor Shenderovichwas right when he said inan interview onEkho Moskvy: The survey was just apretext, ofcourse. It was just adespicable pretext, noting that thereal reason forthe scandal lies inDozhd TVs independent editorial policy.

Dozhd TV is unique inRussia. It is not broadcast over theair but is only available onthe Internet or via satellite or cable providers. It is unique inanother way. It is theonly television station inRussia today without censorship andwithout ablacklist ofpeople who cannot be invited intothe studio. There are no forbidden topics either. Thestation gives much airtime toRussias human rights violations, provides balanced reporting onprotests inKiev andhas not been afraid toreport oncorruption atthe highest echelons ofpower.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

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 meeting tonight 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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