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Russia's Gazprom Buys Shares of Private NTV Television

Moscow, June 11 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly "Gazprom" has bought 30 percent of the country's NTV televison from the financial group "Most." The financial group jointly owns the channel with NTV staff.

The deal was announced at a press conference in Moscow today by "Gazprom" President Rem Viakhiryev and Vladimir Gussinsky, the head of the "most "financial group.

Interfax news agency quotes Gussinsky and Viakhiryev saying they will not disclose financial details of the deal. But Gussinsky said "Most" will continue to hold the controlling packet of NTV shares.

NTV President Igor Malashenko said reporters "Gazprom"'s investment will help launch five new satellite channels later this year and will not affect the network's editorial policy.

NTV's news coverage in recent months has reflected a more pro-government slant than its coverage of last year's parliamentary campaign. The network's president, Igor Malashenko, joined President Boris Yeltsin's campaign committee in March.