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Newspaper Closes Over Putin Story

Posted April. 21, 2008 04:59,   


The Russian daily Moskovsky Korrespondent suspended publication. It recently reported that President Vladimir Putin will marry Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gold-medalist in rhythmic gymnastics and an incumbent member of the Public Chamber of Russia.

According to Interfax, a Russian news agency, on Friday, Artyom Artyomov, the major shareholder of the Moskovsky Korrespondent, announced that he “decided to stop financing the newspaper and, consecutively, its publication, due to the large costs.” Grigory Nekhoroshev, editor-in-chief of the newspaper, resigned the same day, and the Web site where the story on the marriage rumor was put up has been shut down.

The news that the publication of the newspaper will be suspended was delivered right after President Putin denied the rumor about his new marriage. Putin, who was on his trip to Italy on the same day, refuted the rumor, saying, “They are free to inquire into the privacy of politicians, but they will have to observe good manners.”

Artyomov emphasized that the suspension of the newspaper’s publication “has nothing to do with the political issue.” But many are raising possibility of external pressure.

After it reported the rumor, the Moskovsky Korrespondent turned down Kabaeva’s request to delete the article. Since the decision to suspend the publication of the newspaper was made right after President Putin’s denial, the hypothesis that the Kremlin might have exercised pressure is persuasive.

In an article he posted on his blog after losing his job, Nekhoroshev wrote, “We thought there was a necessity to break down taboos. This is more than matters of mere privacy and involves political symbolization. Kabaeva is one of the symbols.”