MOSCOW: The publishers of a Russian tabloid newspaper have dismissed accusations of political interference following its disappearance from the streets shortly after it ran a story about Vladimir Putin's private life.
The owners of Moskovsky Korrespondent, National Media Company, deny they suspended operations because of Kremlin pressure, an assertion disputed by its first deputy editor Igor Dudinsky.
He laments: "We proved that Russia is not a democracy. Even a simpleton would understand that it won't reopen in the next 10 years. I think Putin got very angry."
The story claimed the soon-to-be ex-president was to wed former Olympic athlete Alina Kabayeva (24), now a state Duma deputy.
A furious Putin denied the allegations at a press conference in Sardinia with soon-to-be Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, himself no stranger to romantic entanglements played out in public.
The love lives of Russia's politicians are, however, strictly off-limits to the nation's domestic media.
Artyom Artyomov, who runs National Media Company for billionaire owner Alexander Lebedev, says the Korrespondent will be back: "We will decide on a new direction for the newspaper and a business plan for its development in the near future."
Data sourced from moscowtimes.com; additional content by WARC staff