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Link TV Premieres BBC Investigative Report
Published April 18, 2007

The Russian Godfathers examines the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in which the state-owned assets and resources of a world superpower were seized by a tiny group of smart, ruthless, and well-connected businessmen.

The critically acclaimed, hit BBC series The Russian Godfathers will premiere on U.S. television on Link TV on April 27, it was announced today. The Russian Godfathers examines the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in which the state-owned assets and resources of a world superpower were seized by a tiny group of smart, ruthless, and well-connected businessmen who rapidly joined the ranks of the richest people in history - and who are now at war with Vladimir Putin. This three-part series is an Oxford Film & Television Production for the BBC which will air as part of Link TV's Spotlight series.  The announcement was made today by Kim Spencer, President of Link TV, and Candace Carlisle, Senior Vice President BBC Worldwide Americas, the commercial arm of the BBC.

In a new international political landscape in which journalists and critics of the Kremlin risk imprisonment or assassination when reporting the news, Link TV presents the U.S. premiere of the BBC's The Russian Godfathers, a thoroughly up-to-date investigation of the rise and fall of the Russian oligarchs and their ongoing war with Putin's 21st century Russian Democracy. In this highly acclaimed series, BBC filmmakers obtain chilling, unprecedented on-camera access to the billionaires who are currently fighting Putin for economic and political control of their country, and the region.

Spencer states, "The Russian Godfathers gives U.S. audiences access to groundbreaking investigative reporting on the real sources of power driving the former Russian states right now.  These programs take you deep inside the worlds of these incredibly powerful Russian billionaire-outlaws, with BBC journalists tracking and filming their every movement as they fight to shape the future of the region - despite Putin's efforts to take them down.  This is the kind of reporting American's are craving, but just aren't getting on the network news."

Carlisle comments, "For a long time BBC documentary programming has been praised for the depth of its investigative journalism and The Russian Godfathers is an exceptional example.  As such we are confident this program will be thoroughly appreciated by Link TV's viewers who have a thirst for thought provoking television."

Kremlin expert Jonathan Sanders will join Spotlight host Lakshmi Chaudhry to explore the issues raised in each of the three programs.   Professor Sanders is the author of: Russia 1917: The Unpublished Revolution; Comrade X Was Wrong: Soviet, TV Coverage of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster; and, co-authored with Heidi Hollinger, The Face of Modern Russia's Political Opposition. Also joining the program are special guests Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, author of Resisting the State: Reform and Retrenchment in Post-Soviet Russia and Associate Director of Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law; and Margarita Akhvlediani, Caucasus Program Director and regional editor at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Georgia.

Did the free-for-all of the privatization Russia's natural resources allow the resurgence of a lawless conformity with old KGB tactics? Is the long-dormant Russian version of imperial power finally resurfacing to threaten newly-won economic and social freedoms? How are average Russian citizen's affected?  Link TV's investigative Spotlight special THE RUSSIAN GODFATHERS offers unprecedented insight on the ruthless struggle for wealth, power and control over the resources of a former world superpower.

Spotlight is Link TV's series of investigative reports from around the world that has aired such critically acclaimed programs as Israel's Secret Weapon, Bad Medicine<