RUSSIAN ADS RETURNING; TOP TV NETWORK MAY SET HIGHER RATES FOR FOREIGNERS

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MOSCOW-Russian advertising and entertainment magnate Sergei Lisovsky today is expected to outline partial restrictions on tobacco and liquor ads as part of his official appointment as head of ORT-Reklama, the body controlling media sales on the nation's largest TV network.

The policy statement, and Mr. Lisovsky's appointment, come as ORT-Reklama prepares to resume ads on Aug. 1.

The ban began April 1, with network leaders claiming it was necessary to sweep away a group of media wholesalers who were skimming profits from the 51% state-owned channel. The move had been supported by Vladislav Listyev, a popular TV host and ORT's then newly named executive director, who was killed March 1. His slaying remains unsolved and is believed to be related to plans for the ad ban.

The appointment of Mr. Lisovsky-whose Premier-SV agency had a big stake in network media sales before Mr. Listyev's killing-indicates the media wholesaling system is still in place.

Dmitry Tugarin, a spokesman for Mr. Lisovsky, admitted the ad sales system for Russia's most widely viewed network will retain a "similar structure." He said Premier-SV and several other Russian ad agencies would be allowed to buy airtime and sell it in turn to advertisers.

He added that Mr. Lisovsky would introduce "some innovations," including offering Russian advertisers lower rates than foreign marketers.

Details of ORT's new media wholesaling system were unclear, said Pallavi Sodhi, brand strategy manager at Ogilvy & Mather Moscow. Mr. Sodhi indicated the only tangible change so far was for the worse. "If they will really have different prices for foreign advertising or for foreign advertisers, there was nothing like that before."

A Western ad agency executive in Moscow, who declined to be identified, said the open discrimination against foreign advertisers was an indication of the close ties between the Kremlin and the private companies President Boris Yeltsin last year gave shares in the network.

"We're concerned with the politicization of a powerful force like television in any developing country, but it's especially disturbing here in the election year," he said, repeating widespread charges ORT's owners will use their control over the network to influence voters.

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