Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

All the Russian News Fit to Print

LONDON -- When Natalya Shuvayeva first arrived in London four years ago she wasn't expecting to become a media mogul --she was simply following her husband Yevgeny, a Russian entrepreneur. But now she is the publisher of the United Kingdom's only existing Russian-language newspaper, the Londonsky Kurier.


"At first, it was like a hobby for me," said Shuvayeva, 29. She added that the idea for starting a paper to serve the growing Russian community came to her after she noticed that most of England's other ethnic groups had their own newspapers.


The graduate of Moscow's Pedagogical Institute first found work as a translator for a British-Russian business publication. She first approached her boss at the business publication with the idea. After his rejection, she decided to start it on her own. With ?3,000 (about $4,600) from savings, she launched the tabloid in September 1994. Now, with a circulation of 15,000, the twice-monthly newspaper is the primary source of news for the United Kingdom's Russian speakers, who number around 50,000. Shuvayeva still operates out of her home in Redhill, a town some 47 kilometers south of London.


Averaging 16 pages per issue, the paper covers everything from the war in Chechnya to where to get an education for expatriate Russian children. It has an extensive "Job Opportunities" section. Shuvayeva said letters to the editor form a particularly popular section, often featuring angry notes from Russian woman struggling to get along with their British husbands.


The Londonsky Kurier is designed to be practical and entertaining while steering clear of high-brow fare, she said.


"I never wanted the paper to be reading for intellectuals," said Shuvayeva, adding that her readers range from New Russian business people to recent arrivals looking for work.


Despite its popularity in the Russian community, the Kurier is rarely available at newsstands and must be purchased in community centers like the Britain-Russia Center or downtown at the Russian Books Store. The per copy price is 50 pence, double the cost of the popular Sun.


"It is a very popular paper and people are always asking for it," said a salesperson at one of the bookstores that carries the Kurier as she put out fresh copies of the paper along with Literaturnaya Gazeta and Moskovskiye Novosti.


Shuvayeva said much of the paper's revenue comes from subscribers throughout the British Isles and small business advertising.


"This paper has become my family business," she said with a smile, adding that her once-skeptical husband, Yevgeny, now works full-time as the paper's marketing manager. Three Russian journalists, a British designer and 15 Russian-speaking freelance journalists round out the staff.


Of course, the Kurier is not the first Russian-language newspaper in Britain. In 1902, Vladimir Lenin, then a leader of the Socialist Democrats started Iskra, or Spark, in a cellar -- underground both literally and figuratively. At its peak, Iskra boasted a circulation of around 10,000. Before Lenin, the Russian revolutionary philosopher Alexander Gertsen started Kolokol, or The Bell, in 1857 as a beacon of liberal thinking.


Shuvayeva's dreams have little to do with this legacy. "I would like to see my paper as a readable one with hard-hitting stories," she said.


She also hopes to see the Londonsky Kurier go daily someday.