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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ministry Tests Zvezda Television

The Defense Ministry has launched experimental broadcasts of its a new television channel Zvezda, or Star, its creators said Monday.

The station was test-launched Sunday and will initially be broadcast in the Moscow region, said Sergei Savushkin, the channel's director, at the opening ceremony Monday. Later this spring, Zvezda is expected to begin operating in many other regions.

"Zvezda is about the belief that our country is the most beautiful in the world, that our history is the most heroic and that the future is in our hands," said Ivan Kononov, a television journalist and one of Zvezda's creators.

Savushkin said that the channel will dedicate 10 percent of its programs to military topics -- movies, documentaries, talk shows and a planned reality show detailing the lives of conscripts in barracks. No news programs are planned for the first year.

Savushkin stressed that Zvezda was not funded from state coffers other than using the Defense Ministry's technical equipment. He said Zvezda was a "commercial venture" operating on investors' money but didn't specify who the investors were.

Anna Kachkayeva, a television analyst for Radio Liberty, said the project's goals and prospects were "very unclear."

"You cannot promote patriotism only on one channel," Kachkayeva said. "The project is either intended to serve someone's private interests or the Defense Ministry is trying to prove that it didn't get the frequency in vain."