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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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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