Leading journalists at Russia’s main business daily newspaper say they have been forced to quit over an article that predicted the resignation of the speaker of the country’s upper house of parliament.
Kommersant’s Maxim Ivanov and Ivan Safronov said on Facebook Monday that they were forced to step down because the newspaper’s owner, billionaire Alisher Usmanov, was unhappy with the article published last month.
The publication’s deputy editor, Gleb Cherkasov, said he and 10 other Kommersant journalists will quit in protest.
A spokesperson for Usmanov said he is not involved in hiring or firing decisions and dismissed suggestions he was involved in this case.
“In the case of the two Kommersant journalists, Alisher Usmanov played no role and found out about their dismissal from media reports,” the spokesperson said.
In their article, Ivanov and Safronov predicted that upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko would resign soon and be replaced by Sergei Naryshkin, the head of the SVR foreign intelligence service.
Matviyenko and other officials denied the report.