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Prominent Russian newspaper’s editors quit, accuse newly appointed boss of censorship

Vedomosti (Univerzitná knižnica v Bratislave/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

All five deputy chief editors at one of Russia’s most prominent business newspapers, Vedomosti, have quit in protest at the appointment of Andrei Shmarov as the publication’s editor in chief.

Vedomosti said on June 15 that longtime deputy chief editors Dmitry Simakov, Boris Safronov, Filipp Sterkin, Kirill Kharatyan, and Aleksandr Gubsky are leaving the newspaper.

The decision was made after the board of directors of Business News Media, Vedomosti’s publisher, approved Andrei Shmarov for the post of editor in chief of the newspaper. The move was derided by a majority of the newspaper’s journalists.

According to Vedomosti, 10 journalists, including three unit chiefs, have left the newspaper in recent months.

Shmarov has served as acting editor in chief since negotiations on the newspaper’s sale started in March. He has had several conflicts with the staff, who accuse him of attempts to censor some material to depict state-owned oil giant Rosneft in a favorable light.

Shmarov’s candidacy was supported by Vedmosti’s new owner, Ivan Yeryomin, who was announced as the publication’s sole proprietor on May 29.

In late May, Vedomosti’s editors issued a statement expressing concerns over the newspaper’s new owner, saying that Yeryomin’s media activities in the past showed that he may link up with government entities and “try to apply his business model in a new place, using Vedomosti to serve someone’s political and business interests.”