Latvia launches probe into Russia’s TV Rain host comment about ‘helping’ Russian army

The Latvian security service has opened an investigation following a programme by TV Rain, a Russian independent channel, where host Alexey Korostelev urged viewers to share cases of violation of draftee rights on the frontlines, saying that they “successfully helped” many service members “with, for example, equipment and just basic necessities on the frontline”, the service reported via its website.

Screenshot: TV Rain

Screenshot: TV Rain

The Latvian security service suspects TV Rain of “providing help to the Russian occupation army soldiers”. The agency warned that direct or indirect collection or transfers of funds or any other assets entails criminal liability.

The announcement also says that the service has repeatedly warned about the dangers of “moving activities of the so-called independent media to Latvia”: they can attract close attention from the Russian special services, while employees of these media can themselves have ties to these services.

Moreover, the security service also drew attention to the “risks for the Latvian information space security” in case if the Russian media include messages in their reports aimed against the Western countries, including Latvia.

On 2 December, the Latvian online media watchdog has fined Russia’s TV Rain €10,000, head of the watchdog Ivars Āboliņš tweeted. Āboliņš said that the TV channel was fined for depicting Crimea as part of Russia and referring to the Russian army as “our army”.

This is the second offence by TV Rain in the past months, the watchdog can revoke its broadcast licence for significant violations of its rules, Āboliņš added.

Following Korostelev’s comments, editor-in-chief of TV Rain Tikhon Dzyadko said that the channel did not, is not and would not help out the Russian army with equipment, on the frontlines or beyond.

Alexey Korostelev was later fired, the decision was “very difficult” as states by another TV Rain host, Ekaterina Kotrikadze.

Korostelev later took to Telegram to say that his words were “taken out of context” in the programme about draftees.

Margarita Lyutova, host of an economy programme on TV Rain, wrote on Facebook that she was quitting amid the Korostelev debacle. Another reporter, Vladimir Romensky, also said he was leaving TV Rain.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.