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Russia: Moscow Mayor's Office Starts TV Channel

Moscow, 9 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The Moscow mayor's office is launching a national television network today. The new network is called TV-Center and is funded by the Moscow city authorities.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is widely believed to have ambitions for Russia's next presidential election, scheduled for 2000. Analysts say the influence of the new station could help Luzhkov realize that goal. One of the founders of the new station, Anatoly Lyssenko, said Luzhkov will have an influence on the station's broadcasts. Luzhkov, however, says he is happy to remain as mayor.

By the end of this year, the new station is planning to reach 40 percent of Russia, and the whole country by 1998. TV-Center plans to have five channels and is expected to employ more than 1,000 people. It will compete against three other nationwide TV networks in Russia. They are the state-controlled RTR, the partially state-owned ORT and the commercial network NTV.