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Russian operators drop Dozhd after Leningrad siege survey

A number of Russian pay TV operators including NTV+, Akado and Rostelecom have dropped culture and factual channel Dozhd from their programming line-ups after it aired a survey on whether lives could have been saved if the city of Leningrad – now St Petersburg – had surrendered to the Germans during the Second World War rather than withstanding its three-year siege by Axis forces.

The survey, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the lifting of the siege, is seen as controversial in Russia.

NTV+ published a statement saying that although the channel had not broken any law, it could not “ignore the opinion of our subscribers” and had decided to pull the service.

Akado attributed its decision to doubts about the validity of the licence used by broadcast Dozhd, while Rostelecom pulled the channel without giving reasons, according to local reports.

ER-Telecom, which had been airing Dozhd on a trial basis, has also pulled the channel from its platform on the grounds that it does not have a formal contract in place.

Russian deputy minister of communications Alexey Volin, speaking at the CSTB trade show in Moscow two days ago, intimated that Dozhd was not on the country’s list of mandatory channels that distributors are legally bound to carry and that no action would be taken against operators that dropped the service.