Television Time for Opposition Leaders?


Did you know that Garry Kasparov has been banned from appearing on Russian television due to state censorship?  Well, that could all be about to change, after Vladimir Posner, the host of the television show Vremena, asked Prime Minister Vladimir Putin directly about getting some opposition leaders to appear on Russian television’s mainstream Channel One – mentioning Boris Nemtsov and Garry Kasparov specifically.  Putin was not opposed to the idea, he said, counting the Prime Minister’s comments as a ‘sanction‘ that would allow him to ‘repel any objections‘.  The Other Russia reports:
If Putin publicly answers my question by saying that he is not opposed to the opposition [appearing on television], it gives me the opportunity to tell the management of Channel One, to Konstantin Ernst’s face, that I would like to invite some specific people onto the air.”

Television marketing research in the last decade suggests that Channel One programs are received by 98.8% of Russia’s population.  Such a highly visible appearance from Kasparov, therefore, would surely be a huge boost for the opposition movement.  But is Putin really about to let this happen?  I can’t help but wonder whether Posner’s reminiscent comments about Vremena will get him in trouble before he can act on Putin’s permission:
[…] when Putin began to introduce, as they call it, the power vertical, it affected a lot, including the mass media. It gradually became harder and harder, first of all, to touch upon certain topics, and secondly, to say certain things, and I’ve ceased to enjoy the program,” said the host.