The broadcasting licence of TV6 – the Russian television station taken off-air last month after a court declared it insolvent – has attracted the interest of several top Russian businessmen.

The removal of TV6 from the airwaves was ordered by Russia’s media minister after 15% shareholder Lukoil won its legal case to have the broadcaster dissolved [WAMN: 22-Jan-02]. The majority stake in the station of disgraced businessman Boris Berezovsky, a vocal opponent of the president Vladimir Putin, prompted suggestions that Lukoil had been urged to act by the Kremlin.

A bid for the broadcaster’s licence is being put together by a group of businessmen led by Anatoly Chubais, head of power company UES. Others involved include Russian Aluminium boss Oleg Deripaska, MDM Bank’s Andrei Melnichenko and Roman Abramovich, leading shareholder of oil firm Sibneft.

Such members are considered generally pro-western – Chubais is a leader of the liberal SPS political party – in contrast to the more hardline military approach of the Kremlin.

The bid faces competition from banker Sergei Pugachev, owner of a Moscow TV station with links to the Orthodox Church, and a proposal for a sports-dedicated channel. A decision on the licence’s future is expected on March 27.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff