A Russian oligarch has fired the senior management at a leading publisher, Kommersant, after its weekly news magazine insulted Vladimir Putin.
The general director of the publisher’s holding company, Andrei Galiyev, was fired along with Maxim Kovalsky, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Kommersant Vlast.
And the general director of the Kommersant publishing house, Demyan Kudryavtsev, resigned by letter.
They were required to leave by Alisher Usmanov, Kommersant’s owner, who said pictures with anti-Putin slogans published in the Kommersant Vlast “bordered on petty hooliganism”.
The front cover of the latest issue said: “How the elections were falsified.” There is a widespread belief that the recent elections were rigged in favour of Putin’s party.
The issue contained a report on expatriates voting in Britain, which showed a photograph taken by its correspondent of a spoiled ballot paper with swear words referring Putin.
It also printed another picture from London of a spray-painted image of Putin with the slogan in English “Public Enemy No. 1” and “Khutin Pui”, a play on his name.
Usmanov, a major shareholder in Arsenal football club, was quoted, is quoted by the online news outlet, Gazeta.ru, as saying that he had never interfered in the journalistic activities of his publications before.
Kommersant, one of Russia‘s most respected publishers, also publishes the liberally-inclined daily newspaper of the same name and the popular Kommersant-FM radio.