1/11/2014 4:15
RIA Novosti

Russia

New/old Kommersant editor vows to maintain line

19:02 02/10/2006
MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - The new editor Russia's Kommersant daily vowed on his first day at work Monday to maintain the daily's editorial policy under its new tycoon owner.

Andrei Vasilyev, who was starting his second stint at the helm after a long run from 1999 to 2005, said Kommersant had no intention of following any imposed policy, and added that the edition would carry articles that might not please the owner. The paper has been known for its opposition to the government.

"An edition can only survive when it is not engaged with anyone," Vasilyev said.

The Kommersant publishing house was taken over by Alisher Usmanov, an Uzbek-born Russian businessman and head of a subsidiary of state-owned energy giant Gazprom, in late August.

Vasilyev was Kommersant editor when controversial tycoon Boris Berezovsky, then owner of the publishing house, replaced him with Vladislav Borodulin. But he maintained ties with the house by taking the reins of Kommersant-Ukraina in neighboring Ukraine.

"I see no particular difference between 1999 and the current situation but I hope I will be able to handle Kommersant well," said Vasilyev.

Borodulin quit Friday a month after Usmanov's takeover, though he cited no pressure had been brought on him to depart.

The new editor also said the newspaper was not involved in any games, and the edition would rather write dry facts than report unsubstantiated and unclear information.

"I did not devise Kommersant's [editorial] policy - it was the idea of the first chief editor, Vladimir Yakovlev," said Vasilyev. "Our target is to report detailed information of the day ... Our reader is the most inert and conservative person."

Since last week, the daily has been coming out in color, which Vasilyev called a difficult process that would last for about four months.

He added that the newspaper's personnel policy would be altered. "Each editor creates his own team, this way or another, just like the style or other nuances in an edition largely depend on the boss," he said.

However, Vasilyev added that the structure of Kommersant had not radically changed during the past year of Borodulin's tenure and compared himself to a Russian army hero who defeated Napoleon's invading army in 1812.

"I am like [General] Kutuzov in terms of managerial temper, and I don't like making dramatic, revolutionary moves," he said.

Usmanov, 52, bought Kommersant from Georgian tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, who acquired the company from his business partner Berezovsky, a Kremlin insider under President Boris Yeltsin, who is now living in Britain as a political emigre.

After Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, both Berezovsky and Patarkatsishvili were put on the wanted list in Russia on fraud charges. Patarkatsishvili is now living in Georgia.

Gazprom Media, a division of the government-owned Gazprom energy giant, has in recent years taken control of once independent television station NTV, its satellite division NTV+, regional broadcaster TNT, Echo of Moscow (Ekho Moskvy) radio station, broadsheet Izvestia and current affairs weekly magazine Itogi (Results).

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