Pravda Suspends Publication, Citing Financial Dispute
Jan. 26, 1994
MOSCOW (AP) _ Pravda, once the authoritarian voice of Soviet Communism, suspended publication Tuesday because of a dispute with its Greek owner.
Greek millionaire Yannis Yanikos bought a 55-percent interest in Pravda in 1992 as the paper was struggling to survive in post-Communist Russia. But he and the editor-in-chief Viktor Linnik are at odds.
Yannikos wanted ''total right of ownership over the newspaper, interference in personnel matters, possible replacement of the editorial board ... and a shift in the paper's political line,'' Linnik said Tuesday.
Linnik said the paper would not publish for as long as a week and was negotiating with possible new partners among Russian businessmen.
''The oldest Russian newspaper cannot belong to a Greek company,'' Linnik said in a telephone interview.
In Athens, Yannikos said he was preparing to leave for Moscow to solve the crisis.
''I remain Pravda's owner. There is a problem with the editor-in chief. He is acting illegally and spreading lies. I want him to leave,'' said Yannikos.
Pravda has been a stronghold of hard-line opposition to President Boris Yeltsin and his political and economic reforms.
Yeltsin briefly shut Pravda and several other hard-line newspapers after cracking down on armed opponents in October. The newspaper later reopened after bowing to a government demand to replace its editor-in-chief.
Pravda enjoyed a circulation of 13 million in the 1970 but has been plagued by financial difficulties since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It now has a circulation of 350,000, Linnik said.
Another newspaper that suspended publication Tuesday was Rossiiskiye Vesti. Editor-in-chief Valery Kucher told Russian Television that Rossiiskiye Vesti did not receive an expected state subsidy after ''we tried to distance ourselves from our powerful founder, the government.''