06MOSCOW10605, KREMLIN UNHAPPINESS CAUSES MOSCOW’S “DOMASHNIY”

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW10605 2006-09-21 14:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6029
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0605 2641446
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 211446Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2718
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 010605 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/21/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM SOCI RS
SUBJECT: KREMLIN UNHAPPINESS CAUSES MOSCOW'S "DOMASHNIY" 
CHANNEL TO PULL TALK SHOW 
 
 
Classified By: Polmincouns Alice G. Wells.  Reasons:  1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Ekho Moskvy Editor-in-Chief Aleksey Venediktov 
confirmed to Embassy September 19 that a newly-minted 
television program hosted by him and telejournalist Svetlana 
Sorokina had been pulled from the air following a September 
10 episode that the authorities had apparently found too 
controversial.  According to Venediktov the program, "V kruge 
sveta," was the brainchild of STS Media Director Aleksandr 
Rodnyanskiy who for more than one year had lobbied his 
friends Venediktov and Sorokina to be its hosts.  Both had 
resisted Rodnyanskiy's overtures, said Venediktov, because 
they thought the "Domashniy" target audience would not be 
interested in an edgy political program.  ("Domashniy" 
generally confines itself to lifestyle programming.) Sorokina 
and Venediktov agreed only when Rodnyanskiy promised them 
that the only off-limits subject would be President Putin. 
 
2. (C) The program debuted September 2 and aired only four 
times before, according to Venediktov, running afoul of the 
Kremlin.  The September 11 program that triggered "V kruge 
sveta's" cancellation was devoted to jury trials and featured 
as guests publicist Marietta Chudakova and lawyer Genrikh 
Pavda. The two, with hosts Venediktov and Sorokina, conducted 
a no holds-barred discussion touching on sentences meted out 
to Chechen nationals in Russia, verdicts in hate crime 
trials, the recent disturbances in Kondopoga, and the Ulman 
case.  Putin's name, said Venediktov, was not mentioned, but 
Russia's experiment with jury trials was termed a failure. 
 
3. (C) Domashniy's general director warned Venediktov 
September 13 that the program was in trouble, and on 
September 15, the director told Venediktov that Presidential 
Administration Chief Vladislav Surkov had called Alfa Group 
head Petr Aven (Alfa Group is part owner of STS Media), who 
pressured Rodnyanskiy.  Rodnyanskiy agreed to pull the 
program.  "Aiding" Rodnyanskiy's decision to cancel the 
program, according to Venediktov, was a recent comment 
allegedly made by President Putin to Aven about Rodnyanskiy's 
"untrustworthiness."  Said Venediktov, "Rodnyanskiy 
understands completely that his continued survival at STS 
depends on Putin."  Venediktov was philosophical about the 
cancellation, complaining only that his friend Rodnyanskiy 
had to date not called him to apologize. 
 
4. (C) Comment:  The cancellation of "V kruge sveta" is 
another example of the Kremlin's sensitivity to even indirect 
media criticism.  After only four episodes, it is unlikely 
that the program had acquired a significant viewing audience 
and the discussion, although freewheeling, steered clear of 
the Presidential Administration, but was evidently 
unflattering enough to cause Surkov to pick up the phone. 
BURNS

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