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Russia preems religious net

Spas channel will feature no beer, import ads

MOSCOW — Following the bow of a cable channel devoted to military and patriotic subjects earlier this year, Russia premiered its first religious-based cable outlet on July 28.

In a territory where the Orthodox faith has gained considerable traction in the 15 years since the collapse of Communism, the Spas (Savior) channel on the NTV-Plus slate seems a logical development.

Like religious outlets in other countries, Spas will hold to certain ideals: no beer ads, and in fact, no advertising for imported goods of any kind.

Channel’s chief editor, Ivan Demidov was formerly a presenter on various musical and popular entertainment programs.

Channel has received official blessings from the Russian Orthodox Church and its Patriarch Alexei II, but Demidov stressed that otherwise there will be no direct influence from that body on content — though appearances from priests, as well as politicians and historical and cultural commentators are already set to provide the larger part of airtime.

NTV-Plus reaches over 350,000 subscribers around Russia and neighboring countries, centered predominantly in Moscow and other major towns.

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