Russian magazine mocking city governor pulled: publisher

14th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Publishers of a Russian political magazine complained Thursday that authorities had pulled copies with critical coverage of a governor said to be a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The independent Kommersant publishing house said Thursday that its weekly Vlast, or Power, magazine had disappeared from sale in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg, apparently recalled by the distribution company.

The latest issue profiled the long-serving regional governor Valentina Matviyenko, a former diplomat rumoured to be close to Putin, who recently accepted a nomination to stand as speaker of the Russian parliament's upper house, the Federation Council.

"We received numerous messages that in Saint Petersburg, no less than 90 percent of the copies of Vlast weekly from July 4 were confiscated," Kommersant newspaper wrote.

"We received the information on the confiscation of Vlast from our readers," Kommersant's editor-in-chief in Saint Petersburg, Andrei Yershov, told AFP.

"My colleagues and I checked around 50 sales points and did not find this edition. In two places they told us that the magazine was seized on the orders of the administration."

The city and regional governor was criticised for poor management after uncleared snow and icicles led to several deaths this winter, as well for her controversial support for gas giant Gazprom's plan to build a skyscraper in the historic centre.

Media relations officials denied any sanctions against the magazine issue, dated July 4, 2011.

"We have not heard of this problem," Alexander Korennikov, the head of the local government's media committee, told AFP.

Vlast magazine has a circulation of over 48,000.

© 2011 AFP

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