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Source: Russia's middle class: We don't blame Putin

Example:

Russia's middle class, according to the Russian business journal Kommersant, has remained stable for the past 15 years at approximately 20% of the population. Citing government statistics, the journal predicts that the current economic crisis will reduce the percentage of Russia's middle class to 15%.

Do we really need that the in front of Russian business journal Kommersant? Is it only true of inanimate objects that we stick a definite article in front of their descriptive phrases because most of the time, as far as I have noticed, we don't usually put one in front of titles that follow people's names (if we do, that's called false titles or something like that, for example—the Greek mathematician Euclid)? Clear things up for me please.

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    It is idiomatic to use "a" or "the" there. Zero-article "Russian business journal, Kommersant, ..." strikes my ear as only marginally acceptable, whereas "Russian lyric poet Joseph Brodsky..." sounds perfectly natural. The distinction could be inanimate vs animate (journal|poet). I don't know why my ear wants to hear "the" with journal. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 11 '15 at 11:04
  • I think "the Russian business journal" might be used when the speaker believes his audience might not know what Kommersant is, and the more the speaker feels the mentioned name is known, the more likely it is the article can be dropped. "Pop-singer Michael Jackson..." – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 11 '15 at 11:17
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You don't usually use an article right in front of proper nouns. Names are usually proper nouns.

Give this candy to John.

But if the name is an adjective, then the article is used as usual:

Give this candy to the person John over there.

(It's possible here that technically person is the modifier and John is still the noun - but you still need the article.)

So you wouldn't need the article if Kommersant was by itself and not a word modifying journal:

Russia's middle class, according to Kommersant, has remained stable for the past 15 years at approximately 20% of the population

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Yes, we need the definite article there,as we are being definite about the specific Russian business journal we are discussing.

It is not "a Russian business journal, Kommersant" (i.e. it's not being discussed as one of many).

It's not "some Russian business journal Kommersant" (i.e. a relatively unknown or unimportant Russian business journal. It is the business journal, the one-and-only Kommersant, not to be mistaken for any others.

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