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'Russian Newsweek' Ceases Publication

The last issue of "Russian Newsweek"
The last issue of "Russian Newsweek"
MOSCOW -- The Russian-language edition of "Newsweek" magazine hit newsstands for the last time today.

Publisher Axel Springer said the magazine was ending publication after six years due to economic reasons.

Mikhail Fishman, "Russian Newsweek's" chief editor, told RFE/RL's Russian Service that the decision to end publication was prompted purely by economic reasons and has nothing to do with the problems with press freedom in Russia.

Fishman described the closure of "Russian Newsweek" as "a huge loss for Russia's media market."

"[The magazine is closing down] for economic reasons. We have been hit quite hard by the economic crisis," Fishman said. "The advertising market has deteriorated. I have had to cut costs considerably. We have changed our strategy and tactics. This year -- 2010 -- has been difficult in terms of advertising. I thought those difficulties were temporary and surmountable, but the publisher has decided otherwise."

In an e-mailed message, Axel Springer's director of corporate communications, Christian Garrels, said Springer usually makes decisions based only on economic reasons, not due to political circumstances.

Garrels said "Russian Newsweek" had not been profitable in the last six years and it was decided not to renew a licensing agreement with "Newsweek" in Russia.

But he said Russia remained an attractive market and that Axel Springer will continue publishing other Russian-language titles, including the business magazine "Forbes" and the celebrity magazine "OK!"