""A group of Russian politicians, business owners and trade unionists have made a formal complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about an article in The Independent.
The collective complaint, signed by 33 individuals led by a Russian historian exiled in Britain, Pavel Stroilov, concerns a piece published in September about the governor of St Petersburg, Valentina Matviyenko, headlined Meet Russia's Thatcher, the chemist who could end up in the Kremlin.
They believe the "extremely flattering" article is "propaganda" that contains major inaccuracies, such as overstating Matviyenko's popularity and wrongly suggesting she was democratically elected.
They further complain that critics of the article, written by the Indy's respected foreign correspondent, Mary Dejevsky, were not given a fair opportunity to reply.
The complaint, which contains 79 clauses and runs to some 29 pages in total, is clearly politically motivated and is also aimed at attempting to embarrass the owners of The Independent, Alexander Lebedev and his son, Evgeny.
It contains a letter sent to the Indy by one of the complainants, David Kudykov, who is president of a body called Authors and Publicists International Association, in which he wrote:
"The sale of The Independent to a KGB veteran, Alexander Lebedev, sparked fears that your paper would soon start publishing Russian-style propaganda articles."
Another complainant, Gerard Batten, a UKIP MEP, wrote to the PCC:
"There is a widespread concern among my constituents that, as a KGB veteran, Mr Lebedev is now in a position to abuse his ownership of British media for the purposes of pro-Russian propaganda and against our national interest.
The misleading article hailing an unelected apparatchik as 'Russian Thatcher' is, in my view, quite illustrative of this danger."
He goes on to write of "a Russification (or, rather, Sovietisation) of British media, with the proprietors feeling free to substitute objective coverage with crude propaganda."
Underlying these allegations is the claim that Lebedev has "common business interests" with Matviyenko.
There appears to be a further suggestion that Lebedev is backing the controversial building of tower in St Petersburg by the Russian gas giant, Gazprom. This has been opposed by people worried about its effect on the city's historic skyline.
Reading between the lines, there is also an innuendo about Lebedev sharing common cause with Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, who supports Matviyenko.
Whether or not the specifics of complaint itself are valid (and it certainly contains factual inaccuracies), is for the PCC to decide. But I don't think the link between Lebedev's ownership of the paper and the publication of the article stands up.
I understand that Evgeny Lebedev appeared so baffled by its appearance that he asked The Independent's editor, Simon Kelner, to explain its provenance.
Dejevsky, aware by that time of the heavy weight of criticism of her piece in the Russian blogosphere, sent Kelner a lengthy and detailed reply (subsequently passed on to Lebedev).
In it, she states that no one commissioned or "encouraged" her to write the article, which was the result of an interview with Matviyenko. She wrote: "I proposed it to The Independent's foreign desk. Neither the governor, nor the paper's owner, nor indeed the paper's editor would have known about it until it appeared in the paper."
Yesterday's news of the armed raid by masked police commandos on Lebedev's bank certainly suggests that he has no ties, political or otherwise, with Putin in particular, or the Kremlin.
See my views on that incident in today's London Evening Standard.