St. Petersburg authorities deny connection to disappearance of weekly’s circulation

RIA Novosti / Valery Melnikov
St. Petersburg authorities have refuted claims that last week’s issue of Kommersant-Vlast weekly, which featured an article about Governor Valentina Matvienko, has been taken off the newsstands.

­Talking to the Ekho Moskvy radio station, Aleksandr Korennikov, the Head of the St. Petersburg Committee for Press and Interaction with the Media, suggested that the issue disappeared from newsstands for natural reasons, simply because it was in great demand. 

“As far as I know, Kommersant-Vlast does not have a large circulation in St. Petersburg. It might have sold out quickly,” Korennikov said.

Earlier, internet users wrote on their blogs and social network accounts that it had already been impossible to find the magazine on July 5, the day after its release. On Thursday, the daily newspaper Kommersant, another edition from the same publishing house, featured an article about the incident. Its authors spoke to a number of vendors across the city. Most of them said that the July 4 issue had been removed from sale by distributors. 

In St. Petersburg, the magazine is distributed by three companies, Rospechat, Neva-Press and Metropress. “On the day following its release, an oral order came from the press committee of St. Petersburg to remove the publication from circulation,” a representative of one of the distributors told a Kommersant correspondent on condition of anonymity. 

Neva-Press has denied any such claims. 

The main topic of the issue in question was Valentina Matvienko’s nomination as the new speaker of the upper house after the dismissal of Sergey Mironov, the leader of the Fair Russia party, from the post. Her candidacy was backed both by President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin. The article features analysis of her relations with the ruling tandem. The authors suggested that for her, the post would be “an honorable exile” and de-facto downshifting.