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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Izvestia prepares to sue parliament

Supporters of Izvestia prepared this week to take the Russian parliament to court after a decision by Russian lawmakers to take over the newspaper became official.


Itar-Tass published the text of the parliamentary resolution Tuesday, clearing the way for aides of President Boris Yeltsin and progressive legislators to seek legal action challenging parliament's vote.


Mikhail Poltoranin, the press and information minister, had said last week that the Izvestia issue could be taken to court as soon as theresolution was published.


The resolution, adopted as the parliament's last order of business before it adjourned on July 17, calls for the creation of a newspaper of Russia's people's deputies using the Izvestia facilities. Before it declared its independence after the August 1991 coup, Izvestia was published by the Soviet legislature.


At issue is Izvestia's property, which is owned by the government but which the parliament accuses the


paper of taking over illegally and using for its own profit. The Izvestia paper and publishing house has launched several joint projects with western partners since August, including a weekly business supplement with the Financial Times.


Izvestia editors have denied wrongdoing and blame Ruslan Khasbulatov, the parliament speaker, for taking revenge on the press, with which he has had a difficult relationship.


Vladimir Nadein, an Izvestia deputy editor, wrote that Khasbulatov has "put the paper he hates to ruin and death". He added, "The U. S. Congress doesn't have its own paper, nor does the German Bundestag, and the London Parliament also gets by without one".


Sergei Shakhrai, a legislator, former Yeltsin's aide and lawyer for the president at the Communist Party trial, said that he was ready to defend Izvestia in court.


Igor Golembiovsky, Izvestia's editor in chief, told Komsomolskaya Pravda that he would continue "to do what we have been doing: publish Izvestia".