Moscow, Dec 13 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The chief executive officer and the editor-in-chief of Russia's Kommersant Vlast magazine have been fired for publishing photos with offensive remarks targeting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
CEO Andrey Galiev and editor-in-chief Maxim Kovalsky were fired by the magazine's owner, Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov.
'These materials are comparable to hooliganism,' Usmanov was quoted as saying by Gazeta.ru.
A law suit may also be filed against Kovalsky for the publication, he said.
Demyan Kudryavtsev, chief executive officer of the Kommersant publishing house, Tuesday apologised for the publication.
'Internal procedures and rules of the Kommersant publishing house, the standards of professional journalism and the law of the Russian Federation have been violated. The executive group of the Publishing House regrets this and would like to apologize to readers and partners,' Kudryavtsev wrote in his blog.
The magazine published Dec 12 several photos accompanying an article about the Dec 4 State Duma elections. One photo depicted a vote ballot with an obscene remark aiming Putin, written in red ink across it.
The whole magazine issue was devoted to an analysis of the results and the alleged violations of the vote in which Putin's ruling United Russia party could just maintain a parliamentary majority.
However, deputy chief editor of Kommersant Vlast, Veronika Kutsyllo, denied hooliganism charges spelled out by Usmanov.
'I don't think this is provocation. We never use profanity in the magazine, it is a quote,' she told Ekho Moskvy radio Tuesday.
The parliamentary polls were criticised by many foreign and domestic observers as rigged in favour of the ruling party.
President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an investigation into the complaints.
Kommersant is one of the biggest and oldest Russian news organisations. In 2006 it was acquired by Alisher Usmanov, a metal tycoon with close ties to the state-owned Gazprom corporation. He is also a major stakeholder in Britain's Arsenal football club.