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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gryzunov Appointed as New MN Director

Itar-TassSergei Gryzunov
Sergei Gryzunov, a former senior government press official and vice president of the Russian Association of Independent Publishers, was appointed general director of liberal weekly Moskovskiye Novosti on Monday.

Gryzunov, 55, was introduced to the staff by Ukrainian business tycoon Vadim Rabinovich, whose company Media International Group bought MN from Group Menatep majority shareholder Leonid Nevzlin on July 3.

Gryzunov said his immediate task was to reassure staff that the new owner was interested in developing the newspaper and would maintain its liberal stance. "We will preserve the kind of content that MN has had until now," he said by telephone from the newspaper's offices.

Rabinovich said he would announce the paper's new editor next Monday.

As general director, Gryzunov said he would oversee the newspaper's business operations, while Media International Group would provide MN with newswires and access to its correspondent network and photo archives.

But Gryzunov, who worked as a newswire reporter for more than 20 years, said he would also participate in shaping up the newspaper's editorial policy. "The bulk of responsibility here will lie with the editor, but my professional record and life experience will allow me to visit editorial meetings and offer advice," he said. "We have agreed on this with the new owner."

MN would change its design to attract younger readers, he said.

Gryzunov was a vice president at the MN Publishing House from 2001 to 2003.

His most recent appointment was as vice president of the Russian Association of Independent Publishers in 2004, according to his resume provided by MN. In 2003, he was a public relations manager at the Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant.

Gryzunov served as deputy chairman and chairman of the government press committee between 1994 and 1996, before being employed as vice president for public relations by California-based ICN Pharmaceuticals.

He also worked as correspondent and director for the Yugoslavia news bureau of the APN news agency, now known as RIA-Novosti, from 1971 to 1994.

Gryzunov acquired a reputation as a liberal when he defended the news media's uncensored coverage of the 1994-96 Chechen war, said Mikhail Fedotov, a senior official at the Russian Union of Journalists.

Alexei Simonov, head of the Glasnost Defense Foundation, said Gryzunov had stood up against the nationalist rhetoric of some officials and news media when he was deputy chairman of the press committee. Gryzunov took a civilized approach to resolving conflicts, said Simonov, who worked as an unpaid volunteer assistant for Gryzunov at the committee.

MN, which also publishes an English edition, Moscow News, descended into crisis in March after the previous editor and general director, Yevgeny Kiselyov, fired several senior journalists. Kiselyov quit when the newspaper changed hands.

Media International Group owns newspapers in the United States, Israel and Ukraine, including the New York-based Russian-language daily Novoye Russkoye Slovo, as well as television and radio stations and Internet news sites.