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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Expat Papers Clash Over Not Much at All

Did the publisher of The Russia Journal, an English-language business-and-politics weekly, bull his way into the offices of the eXile, an English-language alternative newspaper, disrespect the cleaning lady and steal a document?

Or was he simply visiting in hopes of buying an ad?

Ajay Goyal, publisher of The Russia Journal, says he dropped by the eXile Friday morning — a day after the eXile had slammed Goyal in print as too cozy with the Kremlin — because he saw the weekly as "a good place to advertise."

Matt Taibbi, co-editor of the eXile, says Goyal had to brush aside the protests of Tamila Matyushevskaya, the cleaning lady and the only person there at the time, to enter. Taibbi and Matyushevskaya said Goyal poked around, tore a document off of the wall — an ad price list — and vowed to return.

The eXile, which has long referred to The Russia Journal as a "CIA-funded" newspaper, on Thursday offered readers what it said was the transcript of a phone conversation between Goyal and an eXile operative posing as someone from British Petroleum wanting to buy an ad.

In that conversation, an audio tape of which the eXile shared with The Moscow Times, Goyal talks up his paper's ties with the Russian-language newspaper Vremya Novostei — and in turn talks up Vremya Novostei as a "pro-establishment" newspaper that "draws all of its power from the Kremlin," and has an unspecified relationship with Press Minister Mikhail Lesin.

"I guess he saw [that article] and freaked out," Taibbi said of Goyal's visit.

Matyushevskaya, 57, said Goyal was aware of that article. She said Goyal had prowled the office "like a boss," then opened a copy of the eXile to the page of the article, pointed to an accompanying picture of himself and told her: "When [the editors] come, tell them this man came by and he will be back."

Goyal said in a telephone interview that he was only after an advertising price list. "I find the whole thing very hilarious. I find it very childish. Nobody takes the eXile seriously," he said.

Goyal said of the eXile transcript that he "cannot recall any such conversation between me and the eXile, or British Petroleum, or any representative of British Petroleum."

Goyal declined to comment on the eXile's assertion that his paper has a relationship with the Kremlin via Vremya Novostei or Press Minister Lesin.

Tai-bbi said the eXile has also, as a practical joke, been publishing Goyal's phone numbers in English-language media classified sections, including those of The Moscow Times, in ads soliciting sex or relationships.

But Goyal said he had not noticed. the eXile The Russia Journal