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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pravda Editor Denies Court Victory Claim

The editor of Pravda on Monday said the paper's Greek publishers were firmly in control of the paper, disputing claims by a group of journalists that a court decision last week meant victory in their year-long battle for ownership of the former Soviet mouthpiece.

"We have been putting out the newspaper for eight months without them," editor Alexander Ilyin said of former editor Viktor Linnik and his supporters. "We have no problems at Pravda."

Linnik's supporters claimed victory when a Moscow court last Friday threw out the Greek publishers' lawsuit for control of the newspaper's property and trademark. The publishers, Yiannis and Christos Yiannikos, filed the suit against Pravda's editors nearly a year ago, when Linnik was editor.

Olga Kofanova, one of Linnik's lawyers, said Monday that the lawsuit was dismissed because Pravda International, the Yiannikos-owned company which finances Pravda, had no legal right to control the newspaper.

But the presiding judge, Lyudmila Martinova, said Monday through a secretary that she had dismissed the suit because the publishers had repeatedly failed to appear in court. She refused to comment on Kofanova's claims.

Ilyin said the publishers had lost interest in the suit because the disputes which prompted them to sue the paper's editorial side for tighter control had been resolved after Linnik's departure.

"The suit lost its entire purpose," Ilyin said. "We worked everything out between ourselves." A secretary at Pravda International said Monday that the publishers were out of the country.

Yiannis Yiannikos, who says he did business with the Soviet Union for 30 years, began financing Pravda in 1991 in return for a 51 percent share.

Linnik has waged a public relations war against him, calling Greek ownership of the paper "foreign diktat" over the Russian press and blaming Yiannikos for the fall in circulation to 70,000 from 11 million during its heyday as the main Communist propaganda paper.