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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky Says He Will Shake Up Papers

Boris Berezovsky on Tuesday announced a change of general director and editor at Kommersant newspaper and his intention to sell Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

Kommersant general director Andrei Vasilyev will move to Kiev as editor of the newspaper's startup Ukraine edition, Berezovsky said by telephone from London. Editor Alexander Stukalin will also be replaced, he said.

Berezovsky first made the announcements regarding Kommersant during a video linkup with the newspaper's staff on Tuesday. Their replacements -- to be introduced "in the next few weeks" -- would aim to strengthen Kommersant's business reporting in competition with its main rival, business daily Vedomosti, he said.

"I like Kommersant very much. But we have begun to lose our niche on the market," he said by telephone from London on Tuesday. "I am especially worried about losing our positions in the business market. "In fact, many people prefer Vedomosti for business news."

During the linkup, Berezovsky said Kommersant had to provide more news analysis, Radio Liberty reported on its Russian web site. Speaking about replacements for Vasilyev and Stukalin, Berezovsky said, "Well-known people will head Kommersant."

He ruled out bringing back former Kommersant editors Ksenia Ponomaryova and Raf Shakirov to take charge of the newspaper, Radio Liberty said.

Anna Kachkayeva, a media analyst with Radio Liberty, said Berezovsky had told her earlier that the new general director would be someone who had previously worked at the Kommersant publishing house. One option might be Vladislav Borodulin, editor of the online news agency Gazeta.ru.

Kachkayeva said she thought Berezovsky would like Kommersant to run more "sharp commentaries about what is going on."

"I think it will have commentaries of the kind that are plentiful on the Internet but are not so often seen in the print media, of the kind Gazeta.ru has," Kachkayeva said.

She said she doubted Berezovsky would try to make the newspaper more of a political tool because that could cost it a portion of its audience.

Konstantin Isakov, head of the Mediamark consultancy, said any competition would be a good sign for the media market. "Thank God that publishers and owners are beginning to take an interest in the commercial component of media projects, and not only their political component."

Igor Yakovenko, general secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists, said Vasilyev had skillfully managed the newspaper as a business, Interfax reported.

Berezovsky also said he was negotiating to sell the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily because of the need to concentrate on Kommersant's Russian and Ukrainian editions.

He declined to name a potential buyer.

Ukraine offered better opportunities for developing a media business because its political system was moving toward European standards, Yakovenko said.

Berezovsky said there had been no discussion about moving editorial and other staff from Nezavisimaya Gazeta to Kommersant.