Citing new laws that place limits on media companies’ foreign ownership, CNN announced that it would be suspending its broadcast in Russia on Monday.
Dramatic as that sounds, it seems the channel might not have had much of a choice: As Bloomberg notes, in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin "signed a law that requires Russian media with foreign owners to reduce non-Russian ownership to 20 percent by the end of 2016."
In a statement, Turner explained the decision:
Turner International is assessing its distribution options for CNN in Russia in light of recent changes in Russian media legislation. We are bringing our existing distribution relationships to an end while we do that.
The company, which is expected to end its broadcasts at the end of the year, added that they hope to return to Russia someday.
The shock and nostalgia began almost immediately. Following the news, USA Today relayed sentiments from Michael McFaul, former American Ambassador to Russia, who tweeted: "I remember the day when you could first watch CNN in the USSR. Now the clocks turn backward. So short-sided & anti-modern & sign of fear."
Much like McDonalds, which arrived in Russia in the early 1990s and is currently falling out of flavor amid the heightened tensions, CNN's debut was seen as part of a general easing of a rigid Soviet posture. CNN's exit seems to represent a recalcifying of that posture.
As AFP reports, CNN's Moscow Bureau will not be impacted. This seems fitting; word from Russia will get out to the rest of the world, but the word from the rest of the world will no longer reach Russia.