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Only Crimean Tatar TV channel shut down by Russian media watchdog

1 April 2015
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The world’s only Crimean Tatar TV channel, ATR, was taken off air today, after Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor refused four requests from the channel to re-register before today’s deadline. Elzara Islyamova, general director of ATR, has said that the watchdog repeatedly delayed processing ATR’s application, while Roskomnadzor cites technicalities in the TV channel’s application as behind its decision to refuse re-registering the organisation. 

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The Tribe and Hard To Be A God win top prizes at Nika awards

1 April 2015
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Still from The Tribe 2014

Ukrainian drama The Tribe and Russian science fiction film Hard To Be A God won top honours at the Nika Awards, Russia's main annual film awards ceremony, in Moscow last night. The Tribe, directed by Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytsky, is entirely in sign language with no subtitles, and won the award for best film from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltics. Aleksei German’s Hard To Be A God, a film based on a novel by Russian sci-fi writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, was named best Russian film of the year. 

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Russian producer launches new art-house distributor in collaboration with US Lorum Ipsum Corp

31 March 2015 · Russia
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Still from A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014) dir. Roy Andersson. Andersson’s film will be one of Arthouse’s first films to be released in Russia

Russian film producer and director Sam Klebanov has launched a new film distribution company, Arthouse, in collaboration with US distributor Lorem Ipsum Corp. Klebanov, owner of Cinema without Frontiers, Russia’s oldest art-house distribution company, will focus his new company on distributing independent and auteur cinema in Russia and the CIS.  

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Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov warned by Ukrainian security services about Ukraine visit

30 March 2015 · Ukraine
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Oscar-winning Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov has been warned against using an illegal border crossing to enter the rebel-held Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, where the director intends to show his most recent film Sunstroke in May. The Ukrainian security services (SBU) have said that “appropriate action will be taken” if the director enters into the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic via any illegal control points held by rebels. 

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Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai nominated for Man Booker prize

30 March 2015 · Hungary
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Hungarian novelist and screenwriter László Krasznahorkai is one of ten writers to have been nominated for the 2015 Man Booker prize. Until recently, the reach of most of Krasznahorkai's works was mainly limited to audiences in Hungary and Germany, however recent English translations of a number of his most popular works has propelled Krasznahorkai onto the international literary scene.

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Director of Novosibirsk opera house fired over controversial production of Wagner’s Tannhäuser

30 March 2015 · Novosibirsk
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The director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre was fired from his post on Sunday following the recent scandal over a controversial production of Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser, which incensed the Russian Orthodox church. Boris Mezdrich, who headed the theatre for over ten years (2001-2008, then again from 2011), refused a request from the culture ministry to amend parts of the production and apologise to anyone offended by the show. He was fired by Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky due to his “failure to comply with instructions”, TASS news agency reported. 

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Kiev biennale to go ahead despite withdrawal of venue, curators say

27 March 2015 · Ukraine
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Chiharu Shiota’s, After the Dream, from Kiev biennale 2012

The curators of The School of Kiev, the Kiev contemporary art biennale, have announced plans to go ahead with the event despite the withdrawal of its venue Mystetskyi Arsenal. The biennale, which was postponed from last February due to the Maidan protests, was expected not to go ahead, after Mystetskyi Arsenal cited financial problems and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine among its reasons to withdraw.

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Ex-Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson offered job by Russian military TV channel

26 March 2015
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Controversial British television presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been offered a job by Russian TV network Zvezda to host a Russian equivalent of Top Gear. The network, owned by Russia’s Ministry of Defence, approached the disgraced Top Gear presenter after he was fired by the BBC last week for assaulting a producer on his programme.

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Russian court drops charges against founder of teen LGBT charity Children 404

25 March 2015
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Leading LGBT activist Elena Klimova has been acquitted of charges brought against her for breaking the “gay propaganda” law. Today, a court in Nizhny Tagil, Sverdlovsk, upheld an appeal against the court’s decision to fine Klimova, the founder of Children 404, a charity that offers LGBT teenagers in Russia information, advice and a closed forum to share their experiences.  

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CNN to resume broadcasting in Russia after receiving broadcast license

25 March 2015
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CNN International will return to broadcasting in Russia after receiving a broadcast licence, media watchdog Roskomandzor has confirmed. The American cable and satellite TV giant ceased broadcasting in Russia at the end of last year, allegedly in response to a change in Russia’s advertising law imposing a ban on the broadcast of adverts on paid TV channels. The controversial law, which was to come into effect from 1 January 2015, was amended at the end of January, and now allows cable channels which broadcast 75% Russian content to air adverts.

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