ST. PETERSBURG, February 7 (RAPSI) – Boris Ivchenko, Chairman of the St. Petersburg Union of Senior Citizens, filed a 50 million ruble ($1.5 million) defamation lawsuit against Russian TV channel Dozhd, after a controversial World War II poll was posted on the station's website, RIA Novosti reported Friday.

The poll has caused emotional distress to thousands of Leningrad Siege survivors, Ivchenko said.

The poll, which appeared in late January, posed the question of whether Leningrad (present-day Saint Petersburg) should have surrendered to the Nazis in order to avert civilian casualties caused by the subsequent siege. It was removed shortly after the initial appearance but caused an outrage throughout the social media and the Internet.

Dozhd later explained the incident as a "mistake made by a producer". Despite that, several nationwide cable companies excluded Dozhd from their packages, explaining the move by contract expiration. Russia's largest cable company, Tricolor TV waned Dozhd that the contract with the station will be terminated, in case the troubled station persists with "incorrect content policy" in the nearest 30 days.

According to various estimates, Leningrad lost between 600,000 and 1.5 million of its inhabitants from a pre-war population of approximately 2.5 million during the Nazi siege between 1941 to 1944.

A Kremlin commission against the “falsification of history” existed in 2009-2012, and unified guidelines for school history lessons were drafted last year.