A member of Akado’s supervisory board Mikhail Silin added that “the negative perception of content by consumers may cause an outflow of clients of cable operators.”

The next day Akado announced it would stop to broadcast Dozhd on Jan. 30, which prompted a storm of rebukes from its clients on social networks.

“It’s good to have an opportunity to respond,” tweeted the editor-in-chief of GQ Russia, Mikhail Idov. “I’m switching off @ru_akado for their refusal to broadcast @tvrain, and I recommend you to do the same.”

Idov is the grandson of a survivor of the Leningrad Siege. On Jan. 30, he posted an excerpt of their Skype conversation, where he asked his grandmother whether the Dozhd question was so insulting that the channel should be closed down. “The channel shouldn’t be closed,” she said. “Any questions may be asked. The truth is born in an argument.”

Not all veterans share this view, however. The head of the public organization “Survivors of Besieged Leningrad” Irina Skripacheva told Interfax news agency that she is outraged by the Dozhd survey. “I already got a call from the prosecutor’s office, and I’m ready to sign a petition to close the channel and put it up for trial,” she said.

Dozhd may not have to be closed by a court order if cable operators turn their back on the channel, which may shatter their marketing strategy and lead to a decline in ad revenues.

In addition to Akado, some of the other major operators, such as the state-funded Rostelecom and privately owned NTV+, switched off Dozhd in their networks on in chain reaction on Jan. 29 only to switch it back on a few hours later and then off again on Jan. 30.

An industry expert Alexander Plushev, who hosts a program about gadgets and the IT sector on Ekho Moskvy radio, agrees with Dozhd CEO Sindeeva. “It’s obvious that there’ve been some unofficial instructions for the operators, which Akado, Domru and Rostelecom took as guidelines, and that Tricolor {operator} heard but hasn’t executed yet, stating that it will shut off Dozhd if anything like that repeats,” Plushev wrote in his blog.

On the other hand, he added, he thinks that the political power that appears to be issuing these instructions is not high enough for the only Russian operator listed on NYSE, VimpelCom, which owns a top Russian mobile operator Beeline, to rush to carry them out.

“Answering a phone call that would ask to find a reason to get rid of Dozhd, VimpelCom would reasonably ask who will compensate them for a fall in their share price, for the aggravation of relations with Western counteragents and so on,” he said. “The level of pressure on Dozhd isn’t high enough yet to consider the channel doomed. However, it’s understood that Putin is aware of the situation and his sympathies aren’t on the Dozhd side.”

Like several of his colleagues, Plushev called for his followers to buy an annual online subscription for Dozhd.

A television critic, Xenia Larina, wrote on her Facebook page that apparently there is only one person in Russia that can decide the fate of Dozhd – Vladimir Putin, for whom the Siege of Leningrad is a very sensitive subject, given that he is a Leningrad native.

Larina called for Dozhd to stand up against censorship. “Your admittance of “guilt” and public repentance only demonstrated readiness to work under the conditions of some very ghoulish and brazen censorship,” Larina said.

The Dozhd controversy wasn’t the only WWII-related scandal that broke out in the Russian media this week. On Jan. 28 the entire social media team of the state-funded Rossiya Channel was fired for posting a quote of Joseph Goebbels about Lenin in the post on Facebook titled, “Quotes of the Great.”

Last year, the media community was rocked by a scandal brought about by an article that came out in a popular pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda. Its author, Ulyana Skobeyda, wrote she is “sometimes sorry the Nazis didn’t make lampshades from the ancestors of modern liberals,” alluding to the wife of a commandant at Buchenwald concentration camp who, legend has it, made lampshades of prisoners’ skin. The paper apologized for the publication and took it down from its website after a fury on social networks and in independent media. No calls for closing the paper followed from pro-Kremlin politicians.

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