Sergey Dorenko

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Sergey Dorenko (with Alexander Prokhanov on the left)

Sergey Leonidovich Dorenko (Russian: Серге́й Леони́дович Доре́нко; born October 18, 1959, in Kerch, Crimea, Soviet Union) is a Russian TV and radio journalist, famous for hosting a controversial weekly news commentary program in 1999-2000.

In 1982 Dorenko graduated from People's Friendship University of Russia in Moscow, and served as a Portuguese-Russian translator in Angola. In June 1984 he was drafted to the military, but was discharged in January 1985 due to health problems.

In April 1985 Dorenko became an employee of Gosteleradio (State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, the only TV and radio broadcaster in the Soviet Union).

Between 1996 and 1999 he hosted Vremya, a news commentary program on ORT. In September 1999 Dorenko hosted the influential weekly Sergey Dorenko Show on Saturdays at 9pm, and in November 1999 became a Deputy Director General of ORT. He was critical of Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, Yevgeny Primakov and their party Fatherland-All Russia, who were major opponents of Vladimir Putin and the pro-Putin party Unity during the 1999 State Duma electoral campaign.[1][2][3] In his program collages of Luzhkov in women's dress were shown.

In August 2000, Dorenko's program criticized the government handling of the submarine Kursk explosion. Soon afterwards, his program was cancelled, and Dorenko alleged that this was a result of pressure from the Kremlin. According to BBC News, Dorenko told Echo of Moscow radio at the time that "on 29th August the president proposed that I join his team, as he put it, and stay at Channel 1 to be his favourite and best-loved journalist."

"I said to him: I am very sorry, I can and very much would like to work at Channel 1 but as part of the team of the viewers. [President Putin] just said in reply: I see that you have not yet made up your mind. I said: On the contrary, I have made up my mind, in favour of the viewers."[4]

The director of Network ORT, Konstantin Ernst, insisted that contrary to Dorenko's allegations, the government had not been involved in the change, and that he made the decision to cancel the show because Dorenko had refused to stop discussing the government's plan to nationalize media magnate Boris Berezovsky's 49% stake in the network.[5][6][7] Following the controversy, Dorenko became a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin's rule and has not worked further on Russian television. He has, however, hosted a number of radio programs for Echo of Moscow.[8]

On September 30, 2003, in Stavropol Krai, Dorenko joined the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Two years later, Dorenko published 2008,[9] a work of political fiction about an upcoming revolution in Russia, featuring President Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin, his close ally.

On May 23, 2007, Sergey Dorenko provided The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal with the full video tape of an interview he recorded in April 1998 with Alexander Litvinenko and fellow FSB employees, where the agents appeared to confess that their bosses had ordered them to kill, kidnap or frame prominent Russian politicians and businesspeople, and thus made it publicly available in full for the first time. Only some excerpts of the video had been shown in 1998.[10][11]

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