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Russia Condemns WWII Criticism

Published: February 12, 2014 (Issue # 1797)



  • CNN, an American network, recently called the monument at Brest Fortress in Belarus one of the “world’s ugliest.”
    Photo: Lena Armstrong / Wikimedia Commons

MOSCOW (AP) - The Sochi Winter Olympics are making Russians beam with pride. But while the opening ceremony left out World War II at the behest of Olympic organizers, Russia’s role in defeating Nazi Germany is still one of the nation’s proudest moments, as some have found out the hard way.

Perceived slights to Russian pride caused an independent television station to be forced off the air and the Moscow correspondent of a U.S. network to be summoned to the Foreign Ministry for an official reprimand. In the latest display of Russian displeasure, a prominent anchor on state television insinuated that U.S. Marines depicted in the war memorial near Washington looked as if they were engaged in gay sex.

Here is a look at what caused Russians to react so strongly and how the Kremlin responded:

Related: Strippers and Sanatoria: Beyond Sochi's Glamour

LENINGRAD LEGACY

The independent television station Dozhd, or TV Rain, came under attack after asking viewers in January whether the Soviet Union should have surrendered Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, to save the lives of the 1 million people who died during the nearly 900-day Nazi siege of the city during the war. The station quickly pulled the poll and apologized, but President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the station had crossed a “red line.” Russian cable providers lined up to drop Dozhd from their packages and prosecutors opened an investigation.

The poll struck a nerve with Russians for whom the resistance in Leningrad exemplified the suffering and heroism of the war. But the station’s owner and editor have accused the Kremlin of using the poll to shut down Dozhd because of its critical reporting. The station has provided a platform for opposition leaders and reported on allegations of official corruption.

After major cable and satellite providers dropped Dozhd, its viewership has fallen from 17 million households to 2 million, according to station owner Nataliya Sindeyeva. While never able to compete with the state channels, Dozhd has been popular with urban middle-class Russians disturbed by the corruption and growing authoritarianism under Putin.

AN “UGLY” MONUMENT

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Nov. 23


Get in the holiday spirit at today’s Winter Bazzar at the Astoria Hotel. Featuring gifts from around the world such as French eclairs, Dutch cheeses and Indian jewelry, the annual event organized by the International Women’s Club will feature 18 international stands and raise money for charity through the sales of a diversity of products that further illustrate the city’s international connections.



Monday, Nov. 24


Dr. Axel Schulte, Department Head at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, is the featured speaker at the SPIBA Industrial Committee lecture on “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Digitalization of the Supply Chain.” The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Graduate School of Management at 3 Volkohvsky Pereulok and registration is required by Nov. 21 either by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.



Tuesday, Nov. 25


Tag along with AmCham during their “Industrial St. Petersburg” Tour program today. This incarnation of the ongoing series will visit Philip Morris Izhora and include an Environmental Health and Safety Committee meeting.


Find out how to expand your business east during the “Business With China” forum beginning today and concluding tomorrow at the Lenexpo convention center. The largest Russian forum dedicated to business with the Asian giant, topics that will be discussed include logistics, customs clearance, trade financing and many more.



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