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News coverage of comedy video parodying Russian president and Moscow mayor deleted following calls from officials

Source: The Bell

Several Russian media outlets simultaneously deleted news coverage of comedian Maxim Galkin’s immensely popular video parodying a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, The Bell reports. Sources from one of the outlets in question told The Bell that the news was taken down following a phone call from officials.

The list of outlets that deleted coverage of Galkin’s video includes the Rambler Group’s Lenta.ru, Gazeta.ru and Rambler (some of these articles are still available via smartphone apps and news aggregators), as well as the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, the news agency Regnum, and the website of the television channel “360 Podmoskovye.

The Bell’s sources said that the publications in question received calls from either the Moscow Mayor’s Office or the Presidential Administration. Lenta.ru’s editor-in-chief Vladimir Todorov refused to comment on the situation and referred journalists to the Rambler Group’s press service. 

In the video, Galkin plays both Putin and Sobyanin discussing plans for Moscow’s new “walking schedule,” which is being introduced to ease lockdown restrictions in the capital. He published the five-minute video on his Instagram account on May 28, with the caption “A happy time for a strict walking regime.” The video gained over 2.7 million views in less than 24 hours. 

On May 27, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that the capital was set to begin easing lockdown restrictions on June 1. The announcement included plans to allow Moscow residents to go for walks according to a schedule that will prevent everyone from going out at once. Moscow has had lockdown restrictions in place since the end of March, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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