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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Rally in St. Pete for NTV Draws 5,000

ST. PETERSBURG — Supporters of embattled NTV television rallied Sunday in St. Petersburg to support the non-government channel in its fight against a takeover by a government-connected gas company. About 5,000 people attended the gathering, according to police estimates carried by Interfax. The rally in Russia's second-largest city follows one Saturday in Moscow, where NTV is headquartered. NTV, the only nationwide television not controlled by the government, is fighting a takeover by Gazprom, which is partly owned by the government and has a Kremlin official as its board chairman. NTV says the Kremlin is orchestrating the takeover to eliminate the channel's independent news coverage of issues such as the war in Chechnya, government corruption and human rights. Gazprom says it is entitled to take control because it is a major shareholder and is owed money by NTV.

Chechen Rebels Kill 7 Russian Soldiers

NAZRAN, Southern Russia — Seven Russian soldiers died in hit-and-run attacks by guerrillas in the rebel region of Chechnya, including four who died when their convoy was ambushed, an official said Sunday. Thirteen soldiers were wounded when the convoy came under fire in the village of Zakan-Yurt west of the capital Grozny, said an official in the region's pro-Russian civilian administration. One serviceman died in a mine explosion Saturday and two in the course of six attacks on Russian checkpoints and positions, the officials said. Police removed two black rebel flags hung overnight on buildings in the town of Shali in the southern foothills. Russian troops rolled into Chechnya in September 1999 to re-establish control lost during a 1994-96 war with independence fighters. Large-scale fighting has died down but small bands of rebels have continued to ambush Russian forces, inflicting daily casualties.

Summit to Focus on Debt, Global Security, Media Freedom

ST. PETERSBURG — Russia's aspirations for closer ties with Europe and its debts to Germany lead the list of concerns during a summit meeting between President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Schroeder is scheduled to arrive Monday in St. Petersburg, Russia's imperial capital and Putin's hometown, for a two-day visit. The two leaders have cultivated friendly ties, helped by Putin's fluent German honed during his years as a KGB agent in East Germany. Schroeder hosted Putin in Germany last year, and their families celebrated Russian Orthodox Christmas in Moscow in January. In addition, Putin has emphasized closer ties with the European Union and downplayed relations with the United States, a priority for his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. Schroeder has said the summit should help boost economic ties and a closer European partnership with Russia.

Thousands Gather in St Pete to Back NTV

ST. PETERSBURG — Thousands of supporters of the independent NTV television channel massed in Russia's second city on Sunday, backing what the station's journalists call a fight against the Kremlin to save free media. Local police said some 4,000 people thronged Troitskaya Square, opposite the Winter Palace, waving placards and Russian flags, a day after a Moscow rally to support NTV's stand against last week's boardroom coup by state-dominated gas giant Gazprom. On April 3, Gazprom replaced the board at NTV, Russia's only independent nationwide television network -- the most influential source of information outside Kremlin control. It ousted founder Vladimir Gusinsky and replaced managing director Yevgeny Kiselyov with an American banker. The following day, U.S. media magnate Ted Turner, founder of the CNN global news operation, announced he had reached an agreement to buy a stake in the network from Gusinsky, saying he hoped to ensure the station's continued independence. Talks continued over the weekend.
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