Russia: TV station shut down amid Ukraine crisis

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Independent TV Rain was broadcast for the final time after it was suspended by the Russian Government for showing “banned” content where they referred to the conflict in Ukraine as a “war”. The channel’s staff gathered together in the studio for a final YouTube live stream event, telling their thousands of paid subscribers about their suspension before ending the stream with the words “no war”. As the staff silently left the studio, the broadcast ended with a clip of Swan Lake, referring to the panicked moment in 1991 where Soviet TV stations showed the ballet instead of the live civil unrest breaking out in the country.

Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office issued a restriction order on Tuesday preventing Russians from accessing TV Rain and a radio station called the Echo of Moscow.

Both were accused of “purposeful and systematic” posting of “information calling for extremist and violent acts”.

TV Rain gathered their staff in the studio before silently walking off with Swan Lake then playing at the end of the broadcast.

It is believed the broadcast of the ballet refers to the moment in 1991 when tanks moved into Moscow to attempt a coup after reformations of the Soviet Union went ahead.

It is not yet known when TV Rain or Echo of Moscow will return.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov briefly mentioned the situation with the Echo of Moscow radio station in a briefing.

He said: “The radio station violated the law. The right of the prosecutor general’s office to take appropriate measures was used.”

Media outlets in Russia have been strongly warned to follow the language used by Vladimir Putin and his regime regarding Ukraine such as calling it a “special operation” rather than “war”.

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State-sponsored outlet Russia Today has been banned across most of Europe for peddling pro-Russian stories about the Ukraine invasion.

TV Rain held an eight-hour live stream before telling their viewers they would be taken off the air.

Their YouTube channel is still accessible outside of Russia but a digital roadblock has been put in place for anyone attempting to access it inside Russia.

TV Rain’s Editor-in-Chief Tikhon Dzyadko said he and his family, along with the editorial staff, have left Russia.

Mr Dzyadko said the team would be working “partly remotely” and would be appealing the decision to close them down.

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Information wars have broken out between Russia and the West with Putin desperately trying to convince his population of his motives for invading Ukraine.

During a briefing on Thursday, Putin told Russians that an officer bravely “blew himself up” after fighting with Ukrainians.

He added the “mission” was going well and that Russian soldiers had high morale fighting “Ukrainian Nazis”.

Putin claims the Ukrainian Government is run by neo-Nazis who have been persecuting the Russian dominated community in Donbas for years.

Putin said in the briefing that the troops were there to secure “peace” for those around Donbas before holding a minute silence for the fallen troops.

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