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Chief Editor Leaves Russia's Vedomosti Year After Censorship Row

Andrei Shmarov's appointment by Vedomosti's new owners had sparked a mass exodus of senior editors and journalists.  Yevgeny Pazumniy / Vedomosti

The Vedomosti business daily announced Wednesday that its editor-in-chief Andrei Shmarov will step down one year after his controversial appointment sparked a mass exodus of senior editors and journalists. 

The decision came a week after VTimes, The Moscow Times’ Russian-language partner founded by the editors and journalists who had left Vedomosti, was declared a “foreign agent” in Russia. The designation puts the independent news site’s future in jeopardy as it risks cratering its advertising budget and steep fines for auditing violations.

“We intend to expand and multiply our audience by launching new thematic information products, unique services and by expanding our geographic distribution both in Russia and abroad,” Vedomosti said in the announcement of Shmarov’s ouster.

“The solution of all these tasks requires exceptional professionalism, extensive experience and knowledge of modern media technologies from the person who will head the editorial office,” it added.

Vedomosti said the decision to part ways with Shmarov was made by mutual agreement.

Shmarov will be replaced by Irina Kazmina, deputy director for editorial development at Business News Media (BNM), the joint-stock company that owns Vedomosti. Kazmina previously served as deputy editor-in-chief of Forbes Russia and has worked in various positions at Vedomosti and its chief rival Kommersant.

Shmarov’s year-long tenure was marked by a series of censorship scandals, including single-handedly deleting articles critical of the state-controlled oil giant Rosneft and banning critical coverage of President Vladimir Putin’s now-passed constitutional changes.

Prior to being appointed by Vedomosti’s new owners, Shmarov founded the Kremlin-linked Expert magazine and served as CEO of the popular literary and general-interest magazine Snob and editor-in-chief of the Project 42 educational portal.

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