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Russian Disney Channel relieves lingering Cold War-era blackout on Wizards Of Waverly Place

The Walt Disney Co.’s ongoing effort to churn out a new crop of teen/tween idols every five years will soon extend to Russia, where a broadcast version of the Disney Channel is set to roll out in 2012. In a stark contrast to the “overly entertaining” content-suppressing policies enforced upon their former Communist comrades in China, the people of Russia will soon have free, unlimited access to such sterling examples of Disney programming as The Suite Life On Deck—where the spoils of the free-market economy are manifested through the petulant behavior of hotel heiress London Tipton—and Phineas And Ferb, where a pair of inventive, individualist stepbrothers attempt to outpace and outsmart the totalitarian rule of their older sister.

Of course, the L.A. Times points out that the new, widely available Disney Channel has a higher purpose than simply espousing multi-camera, laugh track-laden capitalist values in the former USSR: As Toy Story 3’s lackluster box-office take in Russia illustrated last summer, the Mouse House needs a conduit in the country with which to introduce its characters to younger viewers. You know, like propaganda posters—or, better yet, a free version of a network you usually have to pay for. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: Tear down that paywall—so that Russian youngsters will more readily recognize and embrace Buzz Lightyear. 

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