Reprieve for Russia’s Dozhd TV?

Moscow-based cable and satellite channel Dozhd TV (‘Rain’) has been fighting for its commercial life for some months, ever since it transmitted a discussion show on January 26th which asked whether Leningrad should have been surrendered to the invading Nazis during the last war, and thus saved the lives of “hundreds of thousands” of Russian soldiers and defenders.

The show generated an enormous response, mostly negative, and included critical comments from the Kremlin. Subsequently, cable operators declined to take the channel and it is these financial actions that seem to indicate the channel could not continue.

In March the channel ran a weekend Telethon and Gala concert to help raise money, which was successful. Now, it seems Russia’s Association of Cable Operators have had second thoughts about banning the channel, and the Association says it will help to return Dozhd to their portfolio of channels – and pay carriage fees.

Coincidentally, the news came just a day after President Putin – according to Russia’s State-backed news agency ITAR-TASS – spoke favourably about Dozhd TV. Putin’s comments came during his annual ‘Call the President’ phone in on April 17.

The channel’s General Director Natalya Sindeyeva is quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying: “I also learned it from news agencies that we are going to meet on Monday. Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] mentioned us, and then the president of the Association talked about us, probably it is interconnected. It is definitely a good sign because it means a dialogue, and there was no dialogue before. But we will see at the Monday meeting how it will end.”

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