Russian Oscars censored

Moscow (AFP) – A series of jokes about President Vladimir Putin and president-elect Dmitry Medvedev were censored from the screening of Russia’s equivalent of the Oscars film awards ceremony, newspapers reported on Monday.

The jokes – mild by Western standards of satire – at Friday’s “Nika” awards, were cut by private television station STS in its broadcasting Saturday of the event, according to Moskovsky Komsomolets.

“All the juicy stuff from the broadcast was edited out,” the daily said.

One of the comments axed, the newspaper said, was an allusion to uncertainty over whether Medvedev or his mentor Putin, who is set to become prime minister when Medvedev takes over in May, will really be in charge.

“Traditionally we have a message from the Russian president (at the awards),” Russian film academy head Yuly Gusman was quoted as telling the live audience.

“Since clearly no one knows who we have as president, you can consider it coming from me.”

A spoof film sequence shown to “Nika” guests in which Putin appeared as tsar and Medvedev his son also never made it onto the television broadcast, the report said.

Russian television has come increasingly under state control under Putin and satire directed against the political elite is almost non-existent.”

It is fear of your own shadow and nothing more,” wrote Izvestia on Monday about the scenes deleted from the show..

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