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  • Ten Years out of Sight

    Almost ten years ago, before the electoral campaign in 2006, several independent socio-political newspapers were excluded from distribution catalogues of Belposhta and Belsayuzdruk, postal and distribution monopolists in Belarus.

    The monop­o­lists are rep­re­sent­ed through­out the coun­try in the form of postal depart­ments and kiosks. On Jan­u­ary 10, 2014 Bel­posh­ta was includ­ed into the State Reg­is­ter of eco­nom­ic enti­ties that occu­py dom­i­nat­ing posi­tions on Belaru­sian mar­ket in ser­vices of “sub­scrip­tion, deliv­ery and re-address­ing of print­ed mass media prod­ucts”, and, accord­ing to anti­mo­nop­oly leg­is­la­tion, a monop­oly does not have the right to deny ser­vices accord­ing to the free­dom of con­tract. Bel­sayuz­druk was not includ­ed in the reg­is­ter, as it is split into sep­a­rate legal enti­ties in each region.

    In 2006, around 20 non-state peri­od­i­cals were denied ser­vices of the two monop­o­lists, and this put edi­to­r­i­al offices and read­ers into a com­pli­cat­ed sit­u­a­tion. When con­tracts with the out­lets were annulled, the monop­o­lists explained that it was eco­nom­i­cal­ly unrea­son­able to sell them, how­ev­er this argu­ment seemed void because some out­lets were sold in dozens of thou­sands. The peri­od­i­cals had few options left: to apply for ser­vices of pri­vate shops and trade points or to send the news­pa­pers as reg­u­lar mail (so-called edi­to­r­i­al sub­scrip­tion) which rais­es the price sig­nif­i­cant­ly.

    Only in 2008, in thaw­ing rela­tions between the offi­cials in Min­sk and the EU, Bel­posh­ta and Bel­sayuz­druk resumed their con­tracts with two all-nation­al bi-week­ly Nar­o­d­naya Volya and week­ly Belaru­sian-lan­guage Nasha Niva.

    The eco­nom­ic pres­sure con­nect­ed with dis­tri­b­u­tion obsta­cles led sev­er­al out­lets to clo­sures, among them Sal­i­dar­nasc, BDG.Delovaya Gaze­ta, Birzha infor­ma­cii (Hrod­na), Liakhav­it­s­ki Chas (Liakhav­itchy), Mest­naya Gaze­ta (Vaukavysk), Khimik (Navap­o­latsk), Miastsovy Chas (Pin­sk), Gaze­ta dlia Vas (Ivat­se­vichy), Bobruyskij Couri­er (Babruysk). There are also some news­pa­pers that lost peri­od­ic­i­ty or dropped attempts to pub­lish in paper ver­sions, or do it sel­dom, like Tovarisch; Viteb­skij Couri­er (cor­rec­tion made: the news­pa­per has paper ver­sion with cir­cu­la­tion 1000). Also, in August 2014, Niasvizh­s­ki Chas closed down through eco­nom­ic hard­ships.

    The out­lets that by now have issues with dis­trib­u­tors:


    Requests to Bel­posh­ta and Bel­sayz­druk to get ser­vices


    CIRCULATION (May 2015)

    Borisovskiye Novosti (Barysau)

    Absent from Bel­sayuz­druk since 2006. In 2013 returned to Bel­posh­ta for five months only, then the con­tract dropped again

    Pri­vate trade net­work (shops, mar­kets), civ­il dis­trib­u­tors, by mail in the regions. Chief edi­tor Ana­tol Bukas that 8 large sell points opened in the city recent­ly, but they refuse to sell the news­pa­per, ask­ing for a per­mis­sion to sell from the city exec­u­tive com­mit­tee first

    5 000

    Vol­naye Hly­bokaye


    Absent from Bel­posh­ta, last request in 2013.

    Sold in Bel­sayuz­druk kiosks, but only 40 copies per kiosk are tak­en.

    Also through edi­to­r­i­al sub­scrip­tion, pri­vate shops, mar­kets.

    2 000

    Haze­ta Slonim­skaya (Slonim)

    Absent from Bel­posh­ta and Bel­sayuz­druk since 2006.

    Last request to Bel­posh­ta in April 2015.

    Edi­to­r­i­al sub­scrip­tion, own a net of dis­trib­u­tors.

    4 500

    Hantsav­ist­ki Chas (Hantsavichy)

    In Bel­posh­ta and Bel­sayz­druk cat­a­logues only in Hantsavichy dis­trict, since Feb­ru­ary 2010

    Own a net of dis­trib­u­tors who sell around 70 per cent of the cir­cu­la­tion.

    3 900

    Intex-press (Baranavichy)

    Absent from Bel­posh­ta and Bel­sayzu­druk, files requests reg­u­lar­ly.

    Last request to Brestablsayuz­druk in autumn 2014, to Bel­posh­ta in May 2015.

    Edi­to­r­i­al sub­scrip­tion, its own net of dis­trib­u­tors, trade com­pa­nies.

    13 460

    Novy Chas


    Absent from Bel­posh­ta and Bel­sayuz­druk, has not request­ed ser­vices from them since 2012 because deem it sense­less

    Edi­to­r­i­al sub­scrip­tion, civ­il dis­trib­u­tors.

    7 000

    SNPLus. Svo­bod­ny­je Novosti Plus


    Absent from Bel­posh­ta, last request-and-refusal com­mu­ni­ca­tion occurred in April 2015.

    Sold in kiosks of Bel­sayuz­druk

    29 500

    Rehiyanal­naya Haze­ta (Mal­adzech­na)

    Last refusal from Bel­posh­ta came in the sec­ond half of 2014.

    Sold in kiosks of Min­sk­ablsayuz­druk, trade points.

    6 000

    Mag­a­zine ARCHE. Pachatak


    Bel­sayuz­druk denied ser­vices in 2014 say­ing it’s inex­pe­di­ent; Belkni­ga (book shops com­pa­ny) denies ser­vices with­out expla­na­tions.

    Bel­posh­ta, civ­il dis­trib­u­tors, Inter­net shop

    1 000


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