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Putin Backs Plan For New Children's TV Station

The soviet stamp depicting a scene from Soyuzmultfilm's "Hedgehog in the Fog."

President Vladimir Putin has backed the culture minister's proposal to create a children's television channel featuring exclusively Russian animation under the name "Soyuzmultfilm," the same as that of the classic Soviet animation studio.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky raised the issue at a meeting between Putin and cultural policy officials last week, according to a transcript on the Kremlin website.

There are ten existing animation channels in Russia, and five more have filed applications for airtime, but only one of these, Carousel, shows any domestically produced animation, Medinsky said.

"We think it would be very appropriate if Carousel became a channel of exclusively domestic animation. We will focus all our strength on it, we will hand over Soyuzmultfilm's entire collection," Medinsky said. The channels could even be renamed Soyuzmultfilm, he added, a title that Russians "have gotten used to and know."

Putin responded that the government must not limit Russian viewers' access to "all the possibilities of international animation," but said that other countries offer "certain advantages to the producers of similar products."

"I am sure the government and presidential administration will support you," Putin said.

Founded in 1936, Soyuzmultfilm is Russia's oldest animated film studio, with a repertoire including such beloved Soviet classics as "Hedgehog in the Fog,"  "Crocodile Gena" and the Russian adaptation of "Winnie the Pooh."

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