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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

11/29/1992

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A Guardian of Film Culture

If a major foreign film festival is showing in Moscow, there is a good chance that Raisa Fomina was involved in bringing it here. For nearly three years, Fomina has been director of international programs at Moscow's Cinema Center. She has arranged 13 film programs, many of which have become political events in their own right: The 1990 Russian premiere of ""1984"" was paired with a symposium on totalitarianism; last year's screening of ""Nobody Listened"", a film about human rights violations in Cuba, sparked protest from the Cuban Embassy; and a retrospective of independent American films in June showed Russians that there is more to American cinema than the B-grade Hollywood flicks usually playing in Moscow's commercial theaters. ""I'm trying not just to show films, but to make them cultural and sometimes political events"", explains Fomina, a youthful-looking woman of 44 who wears her hair swept back into a big green bow. ""I'm trying to bring something that will open people's eyes and make them think"".

A Bad Sign For Freedom Of the Press

By firing Yegor Yakovlev as the head of Ostankino, Russia's largest radio and television network. President Boris Yeltsin has called into question his commitment to a free press. Eager to secure the political support of the leaders of Russia's republics, Yeltsin made a sudden decision to sacrifice the seasoned journalist after being presented with complaints about Ostankino's coverage of the ethnic conflicts raging on Russian soil. He acted after the leader of North Ossetia accused Ostankino of favoring the Ingush side in a documentary about the fighting in that region of south Russia. In firing Yakovlev, the president clearly had the Congress of People's Deputies, and an expected swell of opposition, on his mind. But by doing so, he damaged his reputation as a supporter of Russia's fledgling democratic press, and set a dangerous precedent for future relations. As long as television is state-owned, Yeltsin is technically its boss.
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