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Forbes Russia issue scrapped over article on Moscow mayor's wife

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Forbes Russia publishers have withdrawn the magazine's December issue, which was to have carried an article about the Moscow mayor's wife, under pressure from the businesswoman's company, a leading business daily said Friday.
MOSCOW, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - Forbes Russia publishers have withdrawn the magazine's December issue, which was to have carried an article about the Moscow mayor's wife, under pressure from the businesswoman's company, a leading business daily said Friday.

Kommersant said the magazine, published by Germany's Axel Springer, contained a seven-page article about Yelena Baturina, head of the investment and construction firm Inteko, who has reshaped her real estate business to make it less dependent on administrative resources after her husband, Mayor Yury Luzhkov, leaves office.

The cover of the magazine featured Baturina's picture and quoted her as saying "I have guaranteed protection." After the issue was advertised, Inteko representatives visited Axel Springer's office and threatened to sue the company for allegedly distorting the quote, which they said in reality read as "I have guaranteed protection as an investor," the paper said.

Forbes Russia Editor-in-Chief Maxim Kashulinsky said the quote was changed but the issue was scrapped nevertheless, prompting him to tender his resignation, the paper said.

"It was more important for me to publish the article itself rather than the quote," he said. "It is very sad that a Western publication treats its business in Russia like this."

All Forbes Russia employees were ordered to sign a gag order about the incident, Kommersant said.

Forbes circulated an official statement Thursday demanding that Axel Springer Russia immediately release the issue in its original form, but it remains unclear with whom responsibility for the content lies - with Forbes Magazine, Axel Springer or Kashulinsky, the daily said.

The first editor of Forbes Russia, Paul Klebnikov, was murdered in 2004 while leaving his Moscow office.

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