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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

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of Repulsion at 7 p.m. and Rosemarys Baby at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy The Tenant, the cult comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers and Cul-de-sac among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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