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Russian newspaper tycoon set to launch new campaigning website as ‘home of liberal fundamentalism’

By Hamish Mackay

March 12, 2012 | 2 min read

The chairman of The Independent and London Evening Standard, Evgeny Lebedev, is poised to launch a new campaigning website.

Industry sources report that the 31-year-old Russian will announce plans “in the next few weeks” on the launch of the new website, called Independent Voices - designed to be the "home of liberal fundamentalism".

Pressed by Media Week for more details, Lebedev revealed the site is intended to be fully funded by third-party advertising and commercial sponsorships, sustaining a dedicated editorial team of between six and seven journalists.

Significant cross fertilisation of talent across Lebedev’s media empire would significantly boost the resources available to Independent Voices however.

Media Week speculates that Lebedev is intent on challenging AOL Huffington Post’s UK operation, pointing out:” It is widely accepted the US-imported political news site has not made the splash it had hoped since launching in the UK last summer.”

It further quotes Lebedev as pointing out: "There is a need in the UK for a campaigning and debating website that can galvanize people that can express really, really strong liberal opinion.

"The most important aspect is we will be providing people who come to our site the opportunity to have a voice."

He said Independent Voices will be focused on the UK "for now", but will "definitely have an international focus" as the website beds in.

The Russian billionaire harbours ambitious plans for London’s Evening Standard which has more than doubled its distribution to nearly 700k copiesand achieved a daily readership of more than 1.7 million after its 50p cover charge was axed.

Lebedev said that the move has "completely changed its fortunes", claiming: "We’ve gone from losing tens of millions to reducing its losses considerably".

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