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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ousted Editor Vows to Regain Pravda

Warning against a growing threat of "foreign diktat" over the Russian media, the ousted editor-in-chief of Pravda vowed Monday to take back the newspaper from its Greek publishers and the current editors who support them.

Pravda International, the Greek-controlled company that finances Pravda, goes to court Tuesday seeking to be named the "founder" of the former Communist Party newspaper, a largely symbolic status that would help assert the publisher's control over the paper.

Viktor Linnik, the former editor-in-chief who has been battling Pravda International since he was fired in February, called on Russian journalists Monday to fight "so that foreign capital will not have the right to dictate the political line of the oldest newspaper in Russia."

Christos Yiannikos, the Greek general director of Pravda International, said in a telephone interview that he had no intention of overriding Pravda's editorial staff, which continues to issue an uncompromising opposition paper despite recent difficulties."We do look forward to making the paper better, but only in cooperation with the editorial collective," said Yiannikos.

Pravda, once the Soviet Union's mightiest propaganda arm with over 11 million readers, now has just 72,000 subscribers, said current editor Alexander Ilyin. It struggled back into print twice last year after being shut down first by government censors for allegedly inciting armed rebellion and then by its printer because of mounting debts.

Linnik accused Yiannikos of cutting circulation to save money and keeping a token paper alive only for the prestige of its "big, big name."

Yiannikos, whose father did business in the Soviet Union for 30 years, denied the charges and said he planned to make Pravda profitable in the long term.

"We are not speculators," he said. "We did not come to this country to make money quickly and go home."

Ilyin said Linnik did not represent Pravda's journalists, who, he said, have "cooperative" relations with the publisher. He confirmed that Pravda International is fighting for founder status, but said that under new Russian law a publication's founder "may not interfere" in a publication's editorial stance.