Posner Fails to Invite Oppositionists on TV

Vladmir Posner. Source: KommersantRussian television host Vladimir Posner has failed to live up to his promise to invite opposition politicians onto his popular talk show before the end of March, Kasparov.ru reports.

In an interview on February 24, Posner spoke to GZT.ru about his plans to invite oppositionists who are effectively banned from appearing on state-controlled television onto his show. The first, he said, would be Solidarity co-leader Boris Nemtsov, whom he planned to invite sometime in March.

“I plan to invite Boris Nemtsov. I’m definitely going to refer to the conversation with Putin that took place in the presence of [Channel One General Director] Konstantin Ernst and another 25 people from the channel,” Posner said at the time.

But on April 1, which happened to be Posner’s 77th birthday in addition to the end of March, Nemtsov wrote in a birthday greeting to the host that neither he nor fellow opposition leader Garry Kasparov had received an invitation to appear on the show:

“There’s a man named Vladimir Vladimirovich, whom it’s a pleasure to address. That man is you. When I was very young, I saw you for the first time on the Russia-America teleconference, where you- spoke with Phil Donahue and the American public in an absolutely professional, open and candid manner. It was striking, unusual and became etched into my memory. It was my first lesson in openness and glasnost. Many thanks to you for that. To be an independent journalist working on federal television – in our times, few people have the strength for that. Sometimes this miracle works out well for you. May god grant you good health and a long life, and Garry Kasparov and I will continue to wait for your call. I shake your hand.”

Posner himself was unavailable for comment.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin first announced that oppositionists may be allowed on state television during a meeting with the Channel One creative team on February 3. The next day Posner said he had asked the station’s management for permission to invite oppositionists onto the air, and a few weeks later announced his intentions to invite Nemtsov sometime in March. Garry Kasparov has expressed skepticism that the invitations would ever come.