Anti-opposition newspaper hits newsstands

February 17, 2012 9:14 am 

MOSCOW, Feb. 16 -– An anti-opposition newspaper used against a Communist presidential candidate in 1996 was revived this week, this time to target recent anti-government protests.

The first issue of “God Forbid,” an 8-page color weekly, appeared on Wednesday as an insert in the popular Argumenty I Fakty newspaper. It puts its circulation at 5.5 million.

The newspaper comes complete with headlines such as “Investment Will Be Lost” and “Rallies Will Deflate, But Problems Won’t” and focuses on disadvantages of a regime change in the country.

The last page offers a comic contrasting the current blissful life in Russia with the horrors of a revolution, depicted through a gang rape scene.

The main target of the publication is this winter’s protest drive that focused on the ruling United Russia party and its head, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is running for presidency in March after two terms in the Kremlin in 2000-2008.

Putin’s supporters insist the protesters want to stage a “color revolution” in the country, though even Putin himself praised the protests for their peaceful nature.

The editor-in-chief of “God Forbid” is Vladimir Mamontov, a prominent journalist known for his vehement pro-Kremlin stance. By his own admission, the paper borders on propaganda. Contributors include several other pro-government journalists and writer Viktor Yerofeyev.

The original “God Forbid” was launched by reporters of the Kommersant daily newspaper during the presidential elections of 1996, notorious for its dirt and mudslinging. The publication, which had a circulation of 10 million, targeted Communist candidate Gennady Zyuganov, comparing him to Hitler. It promoted incumbent Boris Yeltsin, who was eventually reelected for a second term. (PNA/RIA Novosti) DCT/rsm

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