Putin vs. Novy Ochevidets: Copycat New Yorker shutters

In his rapacious journey toward stamping out every single press organ not devoted to singing the praises of a re-armed, one-party Mother Russia, Vladimir Putin could be suspected of being the architect behind the sad, immediate closing of New Yorker look-alike magazine Novy Ochevidets (that’s “New Eyewitness” to you and me). And it came like a cloudburst, says The Moscow Times.

And, lest you cast aspersions on David Remnick for engineering a sly, Lavrenti P. Beria-style press assassination from afar of a publication that ripped off his book right down to the last font in the Jazz section, perish the thought. “As an editor and someone who hopes the best for Russia it makes me sad to think that a magazine as amtibitous as this hasn’t succeeded,” he told the MT. So who pulled the trigger?

Novy Ochevidets’ editor and publisher were unreachable. And poor Yelena Ivanova, who marketed the magazine outside of Russia, said she “had already collected many clients abroad.”

Fishbowl invites New York readers who want to know more to try the pages of www.exile.ru, which is sure to be picking this up imminently. Meantime, the reasons for NO’s demise are few, but deadly: Debt to Mafiya, which is doubtful, since the mag was backed by Lighthouse Publishers, itself backed by the rich Russian elite. Other likely causes: Either Putin put the screws to those backers (even as he gave the go-ahead to a new Stalin statue in the center of town. True story.), or he had his boys from Dzerzhinsky Square’s Fifth Directorate do it for him. Likely answer? Options two and three.

Advantage: Vlad the Impaler. Now that the new Kiev regime’s no longer his friend, nobody at home gets to have any fun, either. What’s next? Claiming Pravda has become “counter-revolutionary?”