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23.11.2009 18:25

Newspaper Svobodnaya Gruzia

David Mchedlidze
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The first edition of the newspaper came out in 1922 under the name of Zarya Vostoka ("Заря Востока") until 1991. According to the 1991 order by the Board of Ministers the newspapers Molodiozh Gruzii ("Молодежь Грузии") and Zarya Vostoka merged into a new edition named Vestnik Gruzii ("Вестник Грузии") whose lifetime was limited to three months only. Since April 10, 1991 the newspaper has been coming out under the name of Svobodnaya Gruzia ("Свободная Грузия"). According to Tato Laskhishvili, editor-in-chief of the newspaper the edition is meant for the Russian-speaking society as well as the Georgians beung fluent in Russian. Since 1997 the electronic version of the newspaper has been launched (http://www.svobodnaya-gruzia.com/) being accessible in 45 countries worldwide. "In accordance with the 2002 census up to 1,5 million people in Georgia speak Russian. Therefore the Svobodnaya Gruzia comes out not for the ethnic minorities only but the Georgian readers as well. It’s a Georgian newspaper in the Russian language," Tato Laskhishvili said. The Svobodnaya Gruzia, a public-political newspaper used to come out daily, afterwards three times per week and since 2006 it has become a weekly outlet. Its stability was hampered also by a frequent change of the editorial address. The newspaper was founded by journalists. The Svobodnaya Gruzia is being published by the Ltd under the same name. The editorial staff is manned with 15 people. Since 2005 the newspaper has been coming out with an attachment Narodnaya Gazeta ("Народная Газета") after winning the contest organized by the Russkiy Mir foundation. The goal of the annual contest  is the popularization of the Russian language outside Russia. According to Tato Laskhishvili the political spectrum is indifferent towards the newspaper. From my point of view many politicians are scared of the language of the edition. Since they show no interest we establish no relations with them," Laskhishvili said. The circulation of the newspaper amounts up to 3,000, according the chief editor, and is being disseminated in all regions across the country. The main source of funding is advertising and various type of aid based on personal relations, Tato Laskhishvili said.

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