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Russian Newspaper Owners, Editor Arrested For Publishing 'Ordered' Stories

MOSCOW -- The Russian Interior Ministry says it has uncovered a criminal group that bribed journalists and published "ordered" articles in media outlets in Russia's central Ivanovo Oblast, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The ministry said several people suspected of being part of the criminal group -- including "Ivanovo-press" daily newspaper founders Galina and Aleksei Yablokov and editor in chief Valery Smetanin -- were arrested and brought to Moscow.

The "Ivanovo-press" offices were searched by police on January 27.

The suspects have been charged with publishing articles ordered in exchange for money. If found guilty they could face a maximum fine of 300,000 rubles ($1,000) or four years in prison.

The ministry added that the cost of some ordered articles was $14,000.