Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 36

Eduard Sagalaev first learned that President Yeltsin had appointed him to head RussiaÕs second TV channel, RTR, from news reports, the producer said when interviewed on the first channel yesterday. (4) Sagalaev was parachuted in to head RTR after Oleg Poptsov, who had headed the station since 1990, was sacked by Yeltsin on the grounds that the channel reported only bad news. PoptsovÕs dismissal met with protests from RTR staff, but Sagalaev said he had been to the studios and that, after an Òopen discussion,Ó he and the staffers had agreed to work together. Sagalaev insisted he was not a "yes" man and that PoptsovÕs ouster did not signal Òthe end of free speech and the introduction of censorshipÓ in Russia. Sagalaev, who is returning to state-run television from Channel 6, an independent company he launched in association with AmericaÕs Ted Turner, said he was well acquainted with CNN’s style of broadcasting and hoped some of its Òobjectivity and efficiencyÓ could be injected into RTR. He added that he favored the idea of presidential candidates taking part in televised debates prior to the June elections because this would help viewers make up their minds how to vote.

Russia and Cuba Try to Seal Nuclear Power Plant Deal.