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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

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



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 meetings every Tuesday night 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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