A disgruntled employee at a Russian TV station recently slipped an anti-Putin news report into the script and briefly in the homes of astonished Russians. The broadcast happened on July 31 in on the local Eastern Express channel in the remote city of Chelyabinsk, near the Kazakhstan border, but only recently gained wider attention when it was finally uploaded to YouTube. The poor anchor working the nightly news broadcast introduced an item about new medical equipment at the local hospital, but the report that aired made Putin look like quite the villain, per the Wall Street Journal:
...the item that appeared was called "The Epoch of Putin"—a polemic that blamed the president for the deaths of slain journalist and anti-Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya and lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison after exposing alleged corruption. It compared corruption levels under Mr. Putin to those in Togo and Uganda.
It also accused Mr. Putin of benefiting from a boost in the polls following a series of terrorist attacks around Russia that started just before his first term as president in 2000.
For those not following the Pussy Riot or Alexey Navalny stories, you'll be surprised to hear this kind of behavior is not tolerated in the motherland. "It would be unthinkable for Russian state television to air a report critical of Putin," the AFP explains.
You can watch the report below. Unfortunately for non-speakers, it's all in Russian, but you can get some sense of the content. The good stuff comes around the 1:40 mark.
You'll notice the report runs for a full two minutes before executives realized what was happening and the audio switches to muzak and the video switches to network filler. Gosh, MacKenzie McHale would have been on that.
According to local Russian reports, the disgruntled employee in question was either fired or resigned after the report aired. He had also been feuding with his co-workers recently. Whether or not the government will seek extracurricular punishments for the executive, well, that's what everyone is waiting to see.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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