CT Broadcast Downplayed Russian Purges Broke Law

Prague, Feb 12 (CTK) – The public Czech Television (CT) breached law by having broadcast the Forgotten Leaders Russian series, which plays down Stalin’s purges, the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting (RRTV) decided, calling on CT in an open letter to correct its mistake.


The letter was co-signed by more than 200 personalities.


CT aired the eight-part docudrama series made in 2016 at the end of 2017.


It introduced several less known figures of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s regime.


According to RRTV, CT particularly breached the law by broadcasting two episodes on Lavrentiy Beria, one of the organisers of Stalin’s purges and executions of the regime’s critics. The episodes highlight Berija’s managerial success and character and trivialise his role in making arrests, deportations and executions, the RRTV wrote in a press release after its meeting.


“Beria’s part in repressions is also presented as something he could not avoid in his role and that he, nevertheless, acted on with self-denial. This in fact is an excuse of Beria’s deeds, which can be seen as cruel acts from the historical point of view and based on which his rehabilitation was declined,” the RRTV wrote.


Russian studies scholar Jan Machonin, who also published an appeal on CT to correct its step on the Babylon Revue website, contacted the RRTV over the series.


Machonin’s appeal has been supported by some 240 people including historians, teachers, artists, former political prisoners and politicians.


“In all episodes of the series, facts on politically motivated persecutions performed by the Soviet regime and its representatives between 1917-1991 were played down on purpose, omitted or directly denied,” the appeal says.


The appeal calls on CT to make the circumstances of purchasing the series from Russian distributors known to the public. It also suggests that CT has the series’ content assessed by historians and publishes their assessment.