A Moscow court ruled against Dozhd independent TV channel Thursday over a poll the channel broadcast in January in which viewers were asked to vote on whether the city of Leningrad should have surrendered during the 1941-1944 siege in an attempt to save lives, Interfax reported.
The poll attracted high-profile criticism and accusations of showing disrespect to war veterans. Most major cable networks swiftly dropped Dozhd from their TV channel packages, and Dozhd's owners said they were left with 15-20 percent of their former potential audience.
Two pensioners in St. Petersburg, as Leningrad is now known — Boris Ivchenko and Yury Antonov — filed a suit with the Moscow Zamoskvoretsky district court over the poll, demanding 51 million rubles ($1.4 million) in compensation for moral damages.
The court ordered the channel to pay the men 100,000 rubles ($2,750) each.
The channel's lawyer, Genri Reznik, told Interfax that the court's decision was politically motivated and said Dozhd would appeal the ruling.
The devastating siege of Leningrad lasted for 872 days and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.