Updated at 13:33,29-11-2021

Who is Igar Logvinau and why his bookstore is on trial

Ales Piletski, Euroradio

Euroradio explains the claims of the tax authoriities and why Belarusians need the Logvinau bookstore so much.

Who is Igar Logvinau

He is a Belarusian publisher. Until 2000, he worked in the publishing house of the European Humanities University. In 2000, he founded the Logvinau publishing house in Minsk. He made "alternative" literature his specialty. In 2010, he opened a bookstore of the same name at the publishing house.

Igar Logvinau and his publishing house regularly participates in international book fairs in Leipzig, Frankfurt and Warsaw.

What is the Logvinau bookstore

In operation since 2010, opened in the former glass recycling shop near the Victory Square in Minsk. In Logvinau bookstore you can buy not only books published by Logvinau publishing house, but also other projects. In particular, there are publications in foreign languages - there are sections of Polish and Czech literature.

"Our bookstore has become not only a place to sell books, but also a meeting place for readers with authors, we have become an important cultural center," - says art director Pavel Kastsyukevich.

Charges against the bookstore

On December 3, the Tax Inspection officers sealed the store for checks. Logvinau bookstore resumed work a few days after that. Two weeks later, Igar Logvinau received a notification of an administrative offense, signed by the head of operational measures department, Pavel Bryleuski. "The audit found ... that ...between 07 January 2014 and 02 December 2014 the shopping facility ... carried out illegal business activities," said the notification. The Logvinau publishing house was effectively accused of selling books without registration with the Ministry of Information. It received a fine of more than 961 million rubles.

Why Igar Logvinau did not receive official registration for selling books

"The new regulations were introduced at the beginning of 2014. We immediately applied for registration, but we were rejected and they pointed out an error in our application. The next time we could only apply a month later, we did everything we could. We were denied registration again," says the publishing house staff.

Ministry of Information denied the Logvinau publishing house registration to sell books 8 times. Among the reasons cited were "incorrect index", "incorrect address" and others.

"We corrected the errors, gave all the documents to the lawyer to check, but every time we were denied," says the publishing house staff.

What happens in court

The Court must give legal effect to the decision of the tax inspection. If it recognizes it to be reasonable and proper, the publishing house will be obliged to pay a fine of 961 million rubles. Its staff said that this would mean bankruptcy and end of activities.

If the Financial Investigation Department gets interested in the case, Igar Logvinau may get accused of a large scale financial fraud and have criminal proceedings initiateed against him. Igar Logvinau stll does not know if the FID is checking him - it will be known only after he is called to testify.

The Court began at 15 hours on January 5. The case is heard at the economic court of Minsk on 15 Akademichnaya street.