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Kommersant newspaper logo.png
Type Daily newspaper
Owner Alisher Usmanov
Founded 1989
Language Russian
Headquarters Moscow
Circulation 131,000
Official website

Kommersant (Cyrillic: Коммерса́нтъ, literally "The Businessman") is a commerce-oriented newspaper published in Russia. As of 2005, the circulation was 131,000.

The newspaper was initially published in 1909, and it was closed down following the Bolshevik seizure of power and the introduction of censorship in 1917.

In 1989, with the onset of press freedom in Russia, Kommersant was re-established under the ownership of businessman and publicist Vladimir Yakovlev.

To make the point that the publication had outlasted the Soviet regime, "Kommersant" is spelled in Russian with a terminal hard sign (ъ) – a letter that is silent at the end of a word in modern Russian, and was thus abolished by the post-revolution Russian spelling reform. This is played up in the Kommersant logo, which features a script hard sign at the end of somewhat more formal font.

In 1997, autos-to-Aeroflot mogul Boris Berezovsky – a member of the former President Boris Yeltsin's 'family'[1] – bought the Kommersant publishing house, which included Kommersant-daily, two serious weekly magazines (the political Kommersant-vlast (literally 'Power') and the financial Kommersant-dengi ('Money') – as well as entertainment magazines Domovoi and Avtopilot and Molotok, a teen magazine, whch later incurred the authorities' wrath.[2]

Berezovsky sacked Kommersant's director-general, Andrei Vassiliev, and editor-in-chief, Alexander Stukalin, on 14 July 2005[3] in a move widely seen as preparation for the 2008 Russian presidential elections.

In January 2005, Kommersant published blank pages as a protest at a court ruling ordering it to publish a denial of a story about a crisis at Alfa Bank. The sole article in the paper was this one, published upside down, on the front page. The headline of the article was "Full Plaintiff" (полный истец) which has little meaning, but rhymes with a Russian swear word, meaning "complete disaster" (полный пиздец).[4] The English version of the article was headed "Alfa-d Up".[5]

London resident Berezovsky sold the Kommersant publishing house to an old friend and business partner, Georgian fruit canner and opposition television station owner Badri Patarkatsishvili, who was already chairman of the Kommersant company's board.[6]

In August 2006, Patarkatsishvili sold his 100% stake in the Kommersant publishing house to Alisher Usmanov,[7] head of Gazprom's Gazprominvestholding subsidiary. Uzbekhistan-born Usmanov, thought to have close ties with the Kremlin, had paid about $200 million for the publishing house[8] – and splashed out a further $30 million in November 2006 buying the web news portal from Sekret Firmy Publishing.[9]

After clashing with Usmanov, Kommersant editor-in-chief Vladislav Borodulin quit.[10] "[Borodulin’s] decision to resign wasn't forced, but evidently they expressed different views on how the publishing house should be developed," said the group's commercial director. Andrei Vasilyev, appointed for a second stint at the helm of the daily – after a long run from 1999 to 2005– said Kommersant-daily had no intention of following any imposed policy, and added that the edition would carry articles that might not please the owner.[11]

Kommersant remains somewhat of a rarity in President Vladimir Putin's Russia. In March 2007 a newly created press watchdog, Rosokhrankultura, warned the paper that it should not mention the National Bolshevik Party because the authorities had denied the ultranationalist party official registration.[12][13]

As of 9 December 2008 (2008 -12-09) no new articles have been added to the English version of the website.

Since February 2009 Kommersant newspaper is printed and distributed in the United Kingdom.[14]

In May 2009, a Russian MP and prominent businessman Oleg Mikheyev has sued the Kommersant for $217 million claiming that one of the newspaper's article "spoiled of his bank so badly it had to be sold at disadvantageous price".[15]

In January 2000, Kommersant was found guilty of libel against Russian entrepreneur Alex Konanykhin and ordered to pay compensation of US$3,000,000.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Fortune made in Yeltsin era – the Guardian, 13 April 2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  2. ^ Prosecutors to save Russian teenagers from SMS pornography –, 30 June 2006. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  3. ^ Boston University publication, July 2005. Retrieved on 2007-10-14
  4. ^ "Полный истец" (in Russian). Moscow: Kommersant. 31 January 2005. Retrieved 2009-08-24.  
  5. ^ "Alfa-d Up". Moscow: Kommersant. 31 January 2005. Retrieved 2009-08-24.  
  6. ^ Russian publishing house Kommersant gets a new owner – Editors Weblog, World Association of Newspapers, 28 February 2006 quoting Ekspert magazine. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  7. ^ #278 Alisher Usmanov, Forbes magazine. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  8. ^ Kommersant Goes to Usmanov for $200M, Moscow Times, 31 August 2006. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  9. ^ Businessman Alisher Usmanov is buying,, November 11, 2006, quoting RosBusinessConsulting's RBK Daily. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  10. ^ Kommersant editor quits – Editors Weblog, World Association of Newspapers, [[2 October] 2006. quoting the Associated Press]. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  11. ^ New/old Kommersant editor vows to maintain line- RIA Novosti, 2 October 2006. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  12. ^ Ъ - И звать их никак
  13. ^ Kommersant Has Too Many Parties – Kommersant-daily, 30 March 2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  14. ^
  15. ^, Russian MP sues business daily
  16. ^ U.S. Court Finds Kommersant Guilty of Libel

External links

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