Kommersant (Russian: Коммерса́нтъ, IPA: [kəmʲɪrˈsant], The Businessman, often shortened to Ъ) is a nationally distributed daily newspaper published in Russia mostly devoted to politics and business. It is a leading liberal business broadsheet. The TNS Media and NRS Russia certified July 2013 circulation of the daily was 120,000-130,000.
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 largely 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' – 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, which later incurred the authorities' wrath.
Berezovsky sacked Kommersant's director-general, Andrei Vassiliev, and editor-in-chief, Alexander Stukalin, on 14 July 2005 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). The English version of the article was headed "Alfa-d Up".
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. In August 2006, Patarkatsishvili sold his 100% stake in the Kommersant publishing house to Alisher Usmanov, head of Gazprom's Gazprominvestholding subsidiary.
After clashing with Usmanov, Kommersant editor-in-chief Vladislav Borodulin left the paper. "[Borodulin’s] decision to resign was not 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.
On 9 December 2008 the publication of articles in English ceased, and currently the Kommersant website has no English version. Since February 2009 Kommersant newspaper is printed and distributed in the United Kingdom.
In 2015, the paper began hosting US-Russia Crosstalk, a joint initiative between Kommersant and the Valdai Club in Russia, and The Washington Times and the Center for the National Interest in the United States, featuring foreign policy related discussion regarding relations between the two countries.
In May 2009 a Russian MP and prominent businessman Oleg Mikheyev sued the Kommersant for $217 million, claiming that one of the newspaper's articles "spoiled of his bank so badly it had to be sold at disadvantageous price". The court dismissed the judicial proceeding due to jurisdictional issues.
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