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State Duma deputy suspects independent TV channel ‘Dozhd’ of violating anti-extremism laws

Duma Deputy Alexey Zhuravlev from the conservative Rodina party has formally asked Russia's Attorney General to conduct an inspection of the independent television channel Dozhd (also known as “TV Rain”). Zhuravlev claims the channel may be violating Russia’s anti-extremism laws and media laws.

Dozhd, Zhuravlev says, violates licensing laws by broadcasting programs from the BBC and Deutsche Welle. “In addition, the topics chosen are quite ‘particular.’ For example, they discredit Russia’s role in resolving the conflict in southwest Ukraine,” says Zhuravlev.

Zhuravlev’s appeal came after Dozhd aired journalist Ksenia Sobchak’s interview with businessman and Duma Deputy German Sterligov. In the interview, Sterligov “offended Jews on religious grounds” and spoke of the Orthodox Church as “a satanic organization and the house of the devil," says Zhuravlev.

In addition, the studio of the TV channel Dozhd was located at CEO’s Natalya Sindeyeva’s residential address from December 2014 to February 2015. This is punishable by law, as living quarters were used for other means, and as sanitary norms for the use of living quarters and fire safety rules were violated.

‘Rodina’ party

The television channel Dozhd is known for its anti-Kremlin stance and independent coverage of Russian news.

In January 2014, following a controversially worded survey about the Siege of Leningrad, TV Rain became the target of an attack campaign by the authorities. The channel was removed from several satellite packages, losing up to 80 percent of its viewers overnight. Documents published by the data-leaking group Anonymous International show that members of the Kremlin may have played a role in the crackdown on TV Rain.

In March 2014, the station’s landlord decided to terminate its lease with the station. After the eviction, Dozhd temporarily set up shop in a private apartment. It now operates out of a television studio, once again.