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Public TV Head Extends Hand to Navalny

The new public TV chief said he would consider working with Navalny and that the opposition should have a part in society.

New public television chief Anatoly Lysenko said he would be willing to work with prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny within hours of being appointed to the position by President Vladimir Putin.

"The opposition is in fact a part of society. And its point of view must be present. Clever people from the opposition should be there. They are smart," Lysenko told Izvestia in an interview Wednesday.

In response to a question as to whether he would work with Navalny, Lysenko answered "Why not?" Lysenko added the disclaimer, however, that Navalny was more of an "active" person and that he needed people who can write.

The head of the new public TV network created as part of the Kremlin's response to criticism of state-controlled channels also said that television should not be an opposition tool.

"I believe that television should not be part of the opposition. What is it if you are shouting something down all the time?" he said.

The channel's scheduled premiere, meanwhile, could be delayed from Jan. 1 to May because of "technical reasons," Lysenko told business daily Kommersant.

State-controlled television has given little coverage to opposition figures, despite mass protests in the wake of December parliamentary elections and a presidential election dogged by allegations of voting fraud.

The 75-year-old Lysenko was appointed Wednesday to head the first-ever public television channel in Russia.

The makeup of a 25-member council for the newly formed channel was also approved and is to include detective stories writer Darya Dontsova, Russian Orthodox Church senior official Vladimir Legoida, actor and theater director Oleg Tabakov and former Tatarstan leader Mintimer Shaimiyev, among others.

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