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The liberal Kommersant newspaper is one of Russia's leading business broadsheets and the flagship of the Kommersant publishing house.

Originally a weekly publication, the paper expanded in 1992, styling itself as Russia's first business daily.

For much of the 1990s, newspaper ownership was dominated by the so-called oligarchs, who acquired controlling interests in many of the leading titles.

In recent years, however, several of the most influential papers have been bought by companies with close links to the Kremlin, state-owned energy giant Gazprom foremost among them.

One of Russia's largest banks, Promsvyazbank, has a controlling interest in the paper, which describes its readers as "working people, businessmen, intellectuals, politicians and managers".

Formerly a leading Soviet youth paper, it reached the height of its popularity in 1990, when its peak daily circulation of almost 22 million secured an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.It also publishes a series of regional editions as well as supplements catering for audiences in the former Soviet republics.It is well known for its high-profile exposes of corruption among senior officials, and expresses broad support for the policies of Moscow's long-serving mayor, Yuri Luzhkov.Its editor-in-chief, Pavel Gusev, has been in the job since 1983, an unusually long stint in Russia's volatile media market.He is believed to own much of the newspaper's stock.

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