Kremlin 'bans critical ballerina from TV'

14th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A scandal-prone Russian ballerina on Monday accused the Kremlin of pulling two television shows about her after she voiced sympathy for jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and quit the ruling party.

Ballerina Anastasia Volochkova accused the Kremlin's chief ideologue Vladislav Surkov of ordering two talk shows to be taken off the air on Friday, linking this to an obscenity-strewn interview she gave about Khodorkovsky.

"My director told me that the "Let Them Talk" show ... was pulled on the personal order of Vladislav Surkov," Volochkova wrote of state-owned Channel One's high-rating talk show.

She added that a second discussion show in which she was due to appear Friday, "NTVshniki" on NTV channel was also pulled.

Volochkova in an interview with Radio Liberty earlier this month slammed the ruling United Russia party as "shit" and said they forced her to sign a letter supporting Khodorkovsky's first jail sentence.

Soon afterwards, she declared that she was leaving the United Russia party, writing in a blog entry that the party had forced her to sign the open letter, signed by 50 celebrities, without showing the full text.

Spokesmen for the channels have denied that the decision was linked to Volochkova's decision to leave the party.

Both shows were aired in Far Eastern Russia, which watches evening television as Moscow wakes up, but were pulled before they were due to air in Western Russia. They have been posted on YouTube.

Volochkova parted acrimoniously from the Bolshoi Theatre in 2003 after criticisms that she was too tall and heavy for her male partners. She has since forged a showbusiness career and dabbled in politics.

© 2011 AFP

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