Russian TV station at risk of closure

Alexander Vinokurov, owner of Dozhd, and director Natalya Sindeyeva listen to a question during a news conference at the channel's headquarters Tuesday. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

The Russian TV station that asked its viewers whether Leningrad should have been surrendered to German forces is at risk of closure after another provider has decided to drop it.

The BBC reports that Trikolor was the last major satellite TV service to offer Dozhd, which quickly pulled the survey from its Web site last week after an outcry. Natalya Sindeyeva, the station’s director-general, told the BBC that the decision “would basically mean the death of the channel” because of a lack of advertising revenue. She said no employees were being fired, however, and that the channel would carry on.

While the move by Trikolor is a blow to the channel’s revenue, many viewers access Dozhd online for an annual subscription fee of 1,000 rubles, or about $28.

The outcry over the survey on Leningrad can be traced to the Russian view of World War II. My colleague Will Englund writes:

World War II is a sacred subject in Russia, where it is known as the Great Patriotic War. It’s not a topic that invites examination, skepticism or counterfactuals. The facts, as understood in Russia, are that the Soviet people, through tremendous and heroic sacrifice, saved their country and the rest of the world from the Nazis. The story of Leningrad — today’s St. Petersburg — is part and parcel of that understanding.

Moving beyond those facts, which are largely correct, is not welcome.

Leningrad endured a siege by the German army that lasted 900 days, from 1941 to 1944. As many as 900,000 people died — 1,000 per day — most from starvation and exposure. The siege left the city a shambles.

Read more about the political trickiness of the survey.

Terri Rupar is The Post's national digital projects editor.


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