A warship deal, a broadcaster and an irritated Kremlin
By Inge Snip
What happens when you pit a major shipbuilding deal between Paris and Moscow alonside the creation of a Russian-language Georgian television channel carried by the French satellite carrier Eutelsat? Simply: the satellite channel loses out.
On January 15, the Georgia-based broadcaster First Caucasian began airing via Eutelsat and was expected to receive a solid contract on February 1. However, in a surprise move, Eutelsat instead opted to discontinue broadcasting, citing an ever-fluctuating list of reasons that have failed to remain consistent. Although First Caucasian remains viewable on cable in Georgia and online, the channel’s satellite broadcasts were a crucial part of its strategy to be available to large parts of Russia to challenge the Kremlin’s near-total media monopoly. Of course, Russia would have none of that. As Russian deputy interior minister Arkady Yedelev stated on January 14, “the TV channel is definitely directed towards planting anti-Russian, anti-State stance and the ideology of extremism.” Right.