Russian Court Rejects $1.4M Lawsuit Against Embattled TV

ST. PETERSBURG, February 12 (RIA Novosti) – A court in St. Petersburg has rejected a $1.4 million lawsuit against a TV station which sparked an outcry over a controversial World War II poll, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The chairman of St. Petersburg’s Union of Pensioners, Boris Ivchenko, demanded 50 million rubles ($1.4 million) in compensation from the independent Dozhd TV channel for an opinion poll that asked whether the Soviet Union should have surrendered the besieged city of Leningrad – now St. Petersburg – to the Nazis in an attempt to avoid hundreds of thousands of deaths.

“Yesterday we have decided to return the lawsuit back to the claimant on the grounds that he should refer it to a court where the defendant is based,” court spokeswoman Irina Daliychuk said.

Dozhd apologized for the poll, which was published in late January on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the lifting of the devastating 900-day Siege of Leningrad in 1944.

However, its management said the controversy was being used as a pretext to shut down the channel, which is known for its whistle-blowing reports and criticism of the Kremlin.

Controversy over the poll prompted major satellite and cable TV providers in Russia to drop the embattled station from its packages, leading to a loss of 80 percent of Dozhd’s audience.

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