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On a talk show last autumn, a prominent political analyst named Mikhail Delyagin offered some tart words about Vladimir Putin. When the program was televised, Delyagin was not.

His remarks were cut and he was digitally erased from the show, like a disgraced comrade airbrushed from an old Soviet photo. (The technicians may have worked a bit hastily; they left his disembodied legs in one shot.)

Delyagin, it turned out, has for some time resided on the so-called stop list, a roster of political opponents and other critics of the government who have been barred from television news and political talk shows by the Kremlin.

The stop list is, as Delyagin put it, “an excellent way to stifle dissent.”

It is also a striking indication of how Putin has relied on the Kremlin-controlled television networks to consolidate power, especially in recent elections.

And it is not just politicians. Televizor, a rock group whose name means television set, had its booking on a St. Petersburg television station canceled in April, after its members took part in an Other Russia demonstration.

When some actors cracked a few mild jokes about Putin and Medvedev at Russia’s equivalent of the Academy Awards in March, they were expunged from the telecast.

Political humor in general has been exiled from television here. One of the nation’s most popular satirists, Viktor Shenderovich, once had a show that featured puppet caricatures of various politicians, including Putin. It was canceled in Putin’s first term and Shenderovich has been all but barred from television.

Read the article here.

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Diplomacide Mothballed

Diplomacide has been mothballed.
June 2008
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