Russian Network Dozhd Probed for "Extremism"

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The oppositionist network survived a crackdown from authorities two years ago.

Russia’s prosecutor’s office has launched a probe into the independent oppositionist television network Dozhd for “extremism” and alleged violations of licensing regulation and the labor code.

Prosecutors showed up at the TV network’s offices on Monday, Dozhd’s general director, Natalia Sindeyeva, wrote on her Facebook page. She also published a copy of the prosecutor’s office’s announcement of the probe, which, the agency said, was prompted by “citizens’ complaints.”

Later on Monday, Dozhd announced on its official Twitter account that officers of the emergencies ministry came to the network’s offices to inspect the premises.

Dozhd suffered a major crackdown in early 2014 after a controversial WWII-related opinion poll on its website, which allegedly insulted veterans. However, many believed the opinion poll was just a pretext for an attack on the country’s sole opposition TV network in a field dominated by Kremlin-controlled state networks.

Several major cable and satellite providers promptly removed the network from their offerings, and the network was also forced out of its offices.

Dozhd survived the crackdown but had to scale down its operations.

This past fall, a legislator filed a request with the prosecutor’s office calling for a probe into the network’s compliance with Russian law.