Narodnaja Volya (newspaper)

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Narodnaja Volya
Narodnaya volya.jpg
TypeDaily newspaper
EditorSvetlana Kalinkina (2004-present)
Political alignmentopposition to Alexander Lukashenko
LanguageBelarusian, Russian
HeadquartersMinsk, Belarus

Narodnaja Volya (Belarusian and Russian: Наро́дная во́ля; Belarusian pronunciation: [naˈrodnaja ˈvolʲa]; English: "The People's Will") is an independent newspaper founded by Iosif Seredich and originally printed in Vilnius, Lithuania. Its circulation is 55,000. In November 1997, printing was moved to Minsk, Belarus in the private publishing house "Magic". It became Belarus' largest independent newspaper.[1] Seredich served as the editor-in-chief, and the deputy chief editor was Viktor Svirko.

Libel suits[edit]

On June 18, 2002, a Belarus district court froze the Narodnaya Volya bank account because of defamation charges brought by two judges from Zhodzina. The judges sought 2.5 million rubles in damages.

On November 17, 2003, the Minsk City Court on 17 ordered Narodnaya Volya to pay 50 million Belarusian rubles in damages for libel against Yahor Rybakou, the chairman of the Belarusian State Television and Radio Company (BDT). The Court also ordered Narodnaya Volya journalist Maryna Koktysh and former television host Eleanora Yazerskaya to pay 3 million Belarusian rubles each to Rybakou.

Editorship of Svetlana Kalinkina[edit]

Following a campaign of government harassment against her previous paper, Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta, International Press Freedom Award laureate Svetlana Kalinkina accepted an editorial position at Narodnaja Volya in 2004.[2] In October 2005, pressure from the Information Ministry prevented Belarusian printers from working with the paper, forcing Kalinkina to contract with a printer in Smolensk, Russia. Beginning on 1 January 2006, the Belarusian post office refused to distribute the paper, and an entire print run of 30,000 copies was confiscated by police on 9 January.[1] When citizens of Salihorsk began a petition on the paper's behalf, police made visits to the homes of the signatories to interrogate them.[1]

On 13 March 2006, a week before the presidential election that would usher in Lukashenko's third term, Narodnaja Volya, BDG, and Tovarishch had their print runs abruptly cancelled by their Smolensk supplier. Kalinkina told The New York Times that she believed Belarusian government pressure to be responsible, saying, "When, a week before the election, someone refuses to print three papers, it is clear there are political reasons."[3]

In April 2010, computers were seized from Kalinkina and Koktysh, as well as Charter 97 editor Natalya Radina and Novaya Gazeta journalist Irina Khalip as part of an investigation into a slander case filed by Ivan Korzh. The four were also brought to a police station for questioning.[4] In September, Kalinkina wrote an article investigating the recent suspicious death of Charter 97 editor-in-chief Aleh Byabenin, and received several death threats shortly after, prompting the human rights organization Norwegian Helsinki Committee to issue an alert on her behalf.[5]

On 29 April 2011, the Information Ministry again attempted to shut down Narodnaja Volya, filing a motion with the Supreme Economic Court of Belarus for the newspaper's closure.[6]


In December 2017, Narodnaya Volya has been mentioned among several other Belarusian independent media that had allegedly removed old news stories about the 2015 arrest and ten months long imprisonment of the businessman Viktor Prokopenya from their websites. This was allegedly done after the media were approached by Prokopenya's public relations advisors. The situation has caused a wide discussion among Belarusian journalists and media professionals.[7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ a b c "Police seize opposition daily's print run; CPJ condemns repeated harassment of newspaper". International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 11 January 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  2. ^ "2004 IPFA Svetlana Kalinkina". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  3. ^ "With election nearing, Belarussians crack down". The New York Times. 13 March 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Police seize computers from four journalists". International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  5. ^ Norwegian Helsinki Committee (19 September 2010). "NHC expresses concerns regarding threats against journalists in Belarus". Human Rights House. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Two newspapers threatened with closure". International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 2 May 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  7. ^ ""Пракапеня – герой, які ўскрыў гнайнік". Медыяаналітык распавёў, як заўважыў знікненне матэрыялаў у СМІ пра бізнесоўца ["Prakapenya is a hero who cut an abscess open". Media analyst tells how he discovered the disappearance of media articles about the businessman]" (in Belarusian). Belsat. 27 December 2017.
  8. ^ Пілецкі, Алесь (27 December 2017). ""Ніхто нічога страшнага не зрабіў". Рэдактары незалежных СМІ пра выдаленьне матэрыялаў пра Віктара Пракапеню ["Nobody did anything terrible". Editors of independent media about removing articles about Viktar Prakapenya]" (in Belarusian). Radio Svaboda.
  9. ^ "#Прокопенягейт: Социальные сети гудят, независимые медиа говорят "ничего страшного не случилось" [#Prokopenyagate: social networks buzz, independent media say "nothing terrible happened"]". (in Russian). 27 December 2017.
  10. ^ Жерносек, Ольга (27 December 2017). "Цензура Прокопени. Кто и почему скрывает от нас правду? [Prokopenya's Censorship: who and why is hiding the truth from us?]" (in Russian). Belsat.

External links[edit]