Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ukraine Slams 'Disrespectful' Remarks on Russian TV

Ukraine on Tuesday protested against "disrespectful" comments made by a top Russian TV host who compared chopping greens to the slaughter of Ukrainians by Soviet security services in the 20th century. Ivan Urgant, a popular television personality who hosts a number of shows on Russia's Channel One station, made the remarks on "Smak", a weekend slot in which he interviews celebrities while cooking with them. "I chopped these greens like a red commissar did the residents of a Ukrainian village," Urgant jested as he helped famous screenwriter Alexander Adabashyan prepare a soup on the programme shown on Saturday. Ukrainians were subject to mass repression by Stalin's NKVD security service and millions died in the early 1930s "Golodomor" famine brought on by Soviet mass collectivisation, which nationalists consider a genocide. The Ukraine foreign ministry demanded an explanation from Channel One, Russia's most popular state-owned channel which is also available to cable subscribers in Ukraine. "In the modern, civilised world, such jokes are considered bad taste and disrespectful toward the millions of victims of a totalitarian regime," said the Ukrainian foreign ministry. Urgant later apologised to Ukrainians on Twitter for his "inappropriate comment" but jokingly added that henceforth he will only cook Ukrainian national dishes on the show and call his children Bogdan, a Ukrainian name.

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