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MN to Stop Publishing on Jan. 1

It may have outlived perestroika and survived the Yukos affair, but now financial problems seem to have sunk the weekly newspaper Moskovskiye Novosti.

Following a management meeting, the publication's parent company, Obyedinyonniye Media, announced Friday that the newspaper would stop publishing from Jan 1.

Obyedinyonniye Media, owned by Israeli-Russian businessman Arkady Gaidamak, also runs a host of other media outlets, including the radio station Business FM.

The company also prints Moskovskiye Novosti's sister English-language edition, The Moscow News, in partnership with RIA-Novosti, the state news agency.

It was not immediately clear how Friday's announcement would affect The Moscow News.

"We do not see any commercial profit in continuing the development of Moskovskiye Novosti in its current format," Daniil Kupsin, general director of Obyedinyonniye Media, said in a statement.

The newspaper could however be relaunched at some future date in a new format, the statement said.

"A decision has been made to redirect efforts into creating and developing successful media projects that are more cost-effective and profitable," it said.

During the 1980s, Moskovskiye Novosti rose to prominence as a leading champion of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of glasnost and perestroika.

Several years ago, the newspaper was bought by a company controlled by former Yukos billionaire shareholder Leonid Nevzlin. Nevzlin sold the company to Ukrainian media magnate Vadim Rabinovich after a state-led onslaught against Yukos forced him to flee to Israel.

In October 2005, Rabinovich struck a deal to sell the newspaper to Gaidamak.

Friday's news also spells the end for the paper's current editor, veteran newsman Valery Tretyakov. Tretyakov, who founded independent daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta in 1990, was appointed editor of Moskovskiye Novosti by Gaidamak in January 2006.

The fate of the English-language weekly The Moscow News remains to be seen. In March, The Moscow News relaunched in a move principally financed by RIA-Novosti. The Moscow News is run by a nonprofit organization called English-Language News of Moscow, controlled 50-50 by RIA-Novosti and Obyedinyonniye Media.

"I don't know anything about it or what will happen," a Moscow News journalist said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to talk to other media outlets. "I only heard of it when someone told me that they had seen it on the news."

She speculated that the managerial silence meant the news only affected Moskovskiye Novosti.

The newspaper's editor, Robert Bridge, could not be contacted for comment Sunday. Spokespeople for RIA-Novosti also could not be contacted for comment.

Established in 1930 to cater to foreign construction specialists working in the Soviet Union, The Moscow News spawned the Russian version Moskovskiye Novosti in 1980.