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MOSCOW, February 11, 23:22 /ITAR-TASS/. The Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) liberal radio station will not apologize for controversial statements radio and TV host Viktor Shenderovich made in his blog on the station's website, Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov said Tuesday.
In his blog post dated February 10 and dedicated to the 2014 Winter Olympics currently underway in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Shenderovich in fact compared the ongoing Games to the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, Germany. Vladimir Vasilyev, who leads the ruling United Russia party’s faction in the lower house of parliament, urged Ekho Moskvy to apologize for Shenderovich’s "fascist” statements.
Shenderovich recalled the victory of German athlete Hans Woellke in men's shot put competition at the 1936 Olympics. "There is something about his victory that prevents us from rejoicing at it today,” he wrote.
“It is probably the final price paid for that sporting exploit - the price that incorporates Dachau [concentration camp], Coventry [bombed by Germany in 1940], Khatyn [Belarusian village whose population was massacred by Nazi collaborators] and Leningrad [that came under siege from the German army],” he said in his post.
“It was not Hans’s fault, of course, but he seems to have contributed,” Shenderovich said.
Venediktov told Itar-Tass: “I have seen the blog and can say that I personally do not see anything fascist in it.”
“The Ekho Moskvy radio will not apologize for it. Besides, it is Shenderovich’s original text only posted on the website in his [own] blog,” the Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief said.
“Our radio station’s website presents very many different viewpoints on the Olympics. Shenderovich’s blog is just one of the opinions,” he said.
United Russia’s Vasilyev said Shenderovich’s statement caused “perplexity.” “We already have a campaign that appeals to public opinion. I am speaking about the situation with [the] Dozhd [TV channel],” Vasilyev said.
“Now there was a statement on Ekho for which, it seems to me, apologies will have to be made,” he said.
Dozhd provoked outrage in Russia in January when it posted a survey asking respondents if the Soviet Union should have surrendered Leningrad, besieged by the German armed forces, to the Nazis to avoid mass deaths.
Leningrad was historically and is currently known as St. Petersburg.