MOSCOW, June 4 (RAPSI) – The Zamoskvoretsky District Court of Moscow on Wednesday consolidated the defamation lawsuits filed by two seniors from St. Petersburg demanding 51 million rubles ($1.5 million) in all from Russian TV channel Dozhd, after a controversial World War II poll was posted on the station's website, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
The court will consider the consolidated cases on June 30.
In February, Boris Ivchenko, Chairman of the St. Petersburg Union of Senior Citizens, filed a 50 million ruble ($1.4 million) defamation lawsuit against Dozhd. The poll has caused emotional distress to thousands of Leningrad Siege survivors, Ivchenko said.
The poll, which appeared in late January, posed the question of whether Leningrad (present-day Saint Petersburg) should have surrendered to the Nazis in order to avert civilian casualties caused by the subsequent siege. It was removed shortly after the initial appearance but caused an outrage throughout the social media and the Internet.
Dozhd later explained the incident as a "mistake made by a producer". Despite that, several nationwide cable companies excluded Dozhd from their packages, explaining the move by contract expiration.
Another plaintiff has filed a 1 million ruble ($ 28,562) defamation claim against TV channel, the judge said on Wednesday.
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.