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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pravda's Back, as Angry as Ever

Pravda, the newspaper of the communist opposition, was back on the newsstands Tuesday after a month-long forced closure, questioning the fairness of the parliamentary elections set for December.


Other disgruntled members of Russia's press corps echoed Pravda's sentiments Tuesday, complaining that opposition parties are being denied access to the airwaves.


"It is clear that it would be indecent to call the forthcoming elections legitimate or constitutional", began Pravda's lead article, although it also urged readers to go to the polls in support of opposition parties.


The article quoted critics of the "radical-bourgeois" government, who called the elections "a mockery of democracy and of common sense".


Pravda was suspended after the White House rebellion on Oct. 3-4, and was allowed to open only after removing its editor, Gennady Seleznyov.


The new editor, Viktor Linnik, has announced that Pravda will adopt a more civilized tone in its criticism of President Boris Yeltsin and his policies.


Two journalists who were sacked from Ostankino after the fighting told reporters Tuesday that Channel 1 was dominated by radical supporters of the president, and that opposition viewpoints would not reach the viewers.


Alexander Lyubimov and Alexander Politkovsky said at a press conference that Ostankino was systematically ridding itself of all independent voices.


"The government wants bureaucrats at Ostankino, who will serve without thinking", said Lyubimov.


"That way they can just pick up the phone and say what they want on television, and it gets done".


Politkovsky said the information shutout was so severe that it could call into question the legitimacy of the elections.


Lyubimov and Politkovsky head the independent television company ViD. They were told on Oct. 12 that the management of Ostankino television would no longer allow the two to appear on its station.


The reason given was a program aired on the night of Oct. 3, in which Lyubimov told viewers to "go home and go to bed" after top Yeltsin officials had appealed to Muscovites to go into the streets in support of the president.


Lyubimov was the moderator of the news and information program "Krasny Kvadrat" (Red Square). Politkovsky hosted an interview show called "Politburo".


Vladimir Maximov, president of Neva, another independent television company that broadcasts through Ostankino, vehemently disagreed with the pair's assessments.


"We have received total freedom from Ostankino", he said in a telephone interview.


"Our show, 'Public Opinion', gives everyone a chance to express his viewpoint live. The management at the television station has told us that we have the right to invite anyone at all to our show".