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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Orthodox Rebels Respond to Council

Two rebels fighting against the Moscow Patriarchate showed no signs of repentance Monday in a press conference reacting to their excommunication by the Russian Orthodox Church. Filaret Denisenko, who heads the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which split from Moscow in 1992, and Gleb Yakunin, a former Duma deputy and Soviet-era dissident, were both excommunicated last week by the Council of Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. A representative of Filaret's Ukrainian Orthodox Church read an official statement at Monday's press conference in Moscow, describing the Russian bishops' decision as ""astonishing."" The statement said that since the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a completely independent church, ""no resolutions, decisions and other acts of the Russian Orthodox Church have any canonical or legal force"" against it.

RTR Boss Caught Between Politicians, Advertisers

Nikolai Svanidze, the new president of RTR, Russia's only state-owned television channel, this week made his first mark on Russian broadcasting policy. The well-known political anchorman turned media executive announced he was axing two light-weight entertainment programs: a late-night, slapstick comedy called ""Shou Dolgonosikov,"" or ""The Big Nose Show,"" and ""VIP"", in which celebrities take turns interviewing each other. The decision may disappoint those who were looking for political shockwaves behind the resignation of Eduard Sagalayev and his replacement by Svanidze, but it says a lot about the commercial pressures facing Russia's second biggest television channel. While last year RTR was a key weapon in the election campaign, axing the two series is a sign that RTR's current dilemma is striking a balance between chasing advertising revenue while justifying its position as a state-owned, state-subsidized channel.

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