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Russian Inquiry Launched Into TV Channel After Leningrad Siege Poll

Some defenders of the Internet TV station say the Kremlin is simply looking for an excuse to shut Dozhd down.
MOSCOW -- Prosecutors in St. Petersburg have launched an investigation into a decision by the Dozhd TV station to conduct a poll asking viewers whether surrendering Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, during the Nazi siege in World War II would have been more humane.

Prosecutors said on January 30 they had launched an investigation following a complaint that the poll insulted war veterans.

More than 1 million people died during the nearly 900-day siege.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman on January 29 said Dozhd had "broken the limits of all that is acceptable."

Lawmakers earlier this week condemned the poll as unpatriotic.

Since the poll, several Russian cable TV operators have pulled Dozhd from their networks.

Staff at Dozhd, which is known for its critical coverage of Putin, called the decision of the cable providers politically motivated.

Russia's human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin said calls to shut the station down were "wrong" and equated them to "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut."

Lukin, however, called the survey "improper."

With reporting by Interfax