MOSCOW, May 15 (RAPSI) - State Duma deputy Andrei Lugovoi (Liberal Democratic Party) has addressed Prosecutor General Yury Chaika with a request to look into the activity of Yandex. Lugovoi believes that the search engine’s news section should be categorized as mass media, Kommersant reports Thursday.

Yandex is Russia's largest Internet company. It owns the leading Russian search engine, as well as a number of other services.

Kommersant cites a letter to the Prosecutor General that says “Yandex publishes news and analytical articles, including copies of materials from Russian and foreign media.”

Distribution of such content is “also mass media activity,” the State Duma member believes. Therefore, he argues, Yandex as “a major mass communication media outlet with a large audience” must comply with the regulations for mass media. If the Prosecutor General’s Office finds that Yandex is not subject to the laws regulating mass media, the deputy has drafted amendments to the legislation in order to “include the website’s activity in this legal framework.”

Yandex representative, Asya Melkumova, told Kommersant that “Lugovoi has never approached Yandex about this issue and that the nature of his complaints is unknown to the company.”

At the media forum of the Russian Popular Front on April 24, President Vladimir Putin, in response to a blogger’s question regarding Yandex’s ambivalent activity, which is a search engine but also a news source, said that “the Yandex question is not so simple.” Putin also noted that both the government and the executive office had discussed – with public input – which sources should be categorized as mass media. The company issued a statement and explained that “Yandex’s home page displays headlines only from the most respected media licensed in Russia.”