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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New York Times Quits the Russian Scene

The last copy of the Russian-edition The New York Times rolled off the presses Wednesday, ending a 22-month effort by the United States' most prestigious newspaper to penetrate the Russian market.

Nancy Nielsen, spokeswoman for The New York Times, said in a telephone interview that the paper was forced to close because advertisers had lost interest in the publication.

She said the seven or eight large American advertisers "did not feel their ads had any effect" on Russian consumers and "were getting no return'' on their advertisements.

Nielsen stressed however, that editorially, the Russian-language newspaper "was a success" and its closure was a disappoinment to the company.

The twice-weekly paper, a translated digest of New York Times articles, had a circulation of about 134,000 copies that was sold for 50 rubles (three cents) but was sometimes given away free.

The demise of the paper, announced one month ago, highlights the difficulty Western publishers have found in breaking into the Russian market and the marked differences in Russian and American attitudes toward the bottom line in the publishing business.

Yevgeny Abov, the commercial director for Moskovskiye Novosti, a publishing group that was the Russian partner in the newspaper, accused the Times of "forgetting their moral responsibility to the reader.

"They have not thought of the tens of thousands of readers who loved the paper," he said.

Abov said he realized that "the American tradition of publishing is very tough, with no compromise," but described The New York Times' attitude to the paper as that of "a toy."

"They played with it, but now they're fed up, and they tossed it aside," he said. Nielsen of The New York Times would not comment on Abov's remarks.

Abov criticized the timing, saying it came just after people had renewed their six-month subscriptions.

"It's one thing if Pravda stops publishing because they've run out of money," said Abov. "But try telling readers that The New York Times has gone bankrupt.They just don't understand."

Russian newspapers have been fighting for survival recenlty with newsprint prices soaring and state subsidies disappearing.

Abov noted that the circulation of the paper had grown 2 1/2 times since its inception in May 1992.

Another Russian-American publishing joint venture, We/My, recently suspended publication for two months due to financial difficulties. The editor of the Hearst-Izvestia project blamed the policies of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's cabinet for the closure, citing new taxes and import taxes.