MOSCOW: Russian steel tycoon Alisher Usmanov has acquired leading business daily Kommersant in a move seen by some as a tightening of the Kremlin's screw on the nation's media in advance of parliamentary and presidential elections in December 2007 and March 2008.

Usmanov (52), Russia's 25th-richest man with a personal fortune of $3.1 billion (€2.42bn; £1.63bn) according to Forbes magazine, owns the Metalloinvest steel combine.

Although he maintains a low profile in political matters, he is seen as a Kremlin loyalist and few believe that under his ownership Kommersant will maintain its current critical policy towards President Vladimir Putin.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff