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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

RIA-Novosti Targets Expatriates

State news agency RIA-Novosti is financing a remake of the Moscow News in the state's latest effort to reach out to English speakers.

The relaunch of the newspaper, which is to take place early next month, will follow RIA-Novosti's creation of the Russia Today satellite television channel in late 2005. Earlier that year, it began publishing the Russia Profile journal in conjunction with Independent Media Sanoma Magazines, the parent company of The Moscow Times.

The Moscow News has moved into the RIA-Novosti building on Zubovsky Bulvar near the Park Kultury metro station, appointed Anthony Louis as its editor and is hiring more Western reporters, RIA-Novosti deputy editor Leonid Burmistrov said. Louis is the former owner and editor of the Moscow Tribune, a newspaper that started in the early 1990s but closed in 2002.

While Russia Today was created with the aim of presenting the government's view on news about Russia, the Moscow News will have no obligation to run reports about the Kremlin, Burmistrov said.

"You will not find stories that could be classified as political or ideological," he said. "For us, it is above all a business project."

The Moscow News will be run by a nonprofit organization called English-Language News of Moscow, controlled 50-50 by RIA-Novosti and the media company Moskovskiye Novosti, which owns the paper, Burmistrov said. Moskovskiye Novosti -- once owned by Yukos billionaire Leonid Nevzlin -- is now the property of billionaire Arkady Gaidamak, who lives in Israel.

In addition to the English-language weekly, Moskovskiye Novosti owns a newspaper of the same name, a radio frequency and French publication France Soir.

Burmistrov refused to say how much money would be invested into the overhaul.

RIA-Novosti, as "a financially stronger structure," is contributing more money to the project, while Moskovskiye Novosti is overseeing its management and promotion, Moskovskiye Novosti director Daniil Kupsin said.

Burmistrov said the proportion of staff stories would increase and that the newspaper's design would change. The Moscow News hopes to publish 32 pages per issue by year end instead of the current 16 and increase its print run, he said.

Currently, the Moscow News mostly carries translations from its Russian-language sister weekly, Moskovskiye Novosti.

Burmistrov said that the new Moscow News would strive to compete with The Moscow Times, which is a daily.

Mikhail Doubik, the director overseeing newspapers at Independent Media Sanoma Magazines, expressed confidence that any competition would not hurt The Moscow Times' readership or lead to a loss of advertisers.

Oleg Panfilov, director of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, cautioned, however, that The Moscow Times could experience problems in reaching readers because of the state's involvement in the Moscow News.

The Moscow News, founded by the state in 1930 to target the English-speaking construction experts who came to the Soviet Union during the industrialization, gave birth to its sister Russian-language publication, Moskovskiye Novosti. Reports in the Russian newspaper raised the curtain on the state's dealings in the waning days of the Soviet Union.

The Moscow News' editor, Louis, also has worked for United Press International, a U.S. news agency. He did not return repeated calls for comment this week and last. His deputy, Robert Bridge, also was unavailable for comment.