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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 worlds 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, Russias role in defeating Nazi Germany is still one of the nations 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 Putins 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 stations 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

Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldnt miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norways largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.