Updated at 13:30,13-05-2024

ARCHE magazine editor-in-chief fined, 5,000 Belarusian-language books seized

Nasha Niva

ARCHE magazine editor-in-chief fined, 5,000 Belarusian-language books seized

Valier Bulhakau, editor-in-chief of Belarusian intellectual magazine ARCHE was fined with Br500,000 by Hrodna court.

Furthermore, more than 5,000 books printed in 2000s were seized from his home in the village of Jurkavichy. All the books are printed in Belarusian language.

Furthermore, the Financial Investigation Department is currently checking the printing shop where ARCHE magazine was printed. The documents were seized.

The legal procedures against Valier Bulhakau and ARCHE were initiated after the tax police captured him in Hrodna at the presentation of the issue of ARCHE The Sovetization Of West Belarus by historian Jan Shumski. Around 200 copies of ARCHE were seized during the operation.

Valier Bulhakau was charged by Hrodna Economic Court with illegal entrepreneurial activity as he sold the books without a entrepreneur license and also did not give any receipts.

However, Valier Bulhakau supposes that a criminal case may be initiated against him as the seized books are worth ca. Br200mln (ca. $23,000). Such a sum may already be considered within the frameworks of the Criminal Code.

Valier Bulhakau is a prominent Belarusian intellectual, author of several books. He has been the editor-in-chief of ARCHE since 1998 when the magazine was founded.

On October 4, the account of ARCHE was arrested the Financial Investigation Department as the required documents were not presented in time.

But ARCHE bookkeeper says there was no request before this, and all the documents covering the whole ARCHE’s history were presented when the Financial Investigation Department demanded them.

As Valier Bulhakau supposes, this is "another secret services’ operation against our creative people."

He also links it to overall activation of pressure on Belarusian culture society.

Now the acting editor-in-chief Aliaksandr Pashkievich — previously ARCHE deputy editor-in-chief — is preparing the next issue of ARCHE trying to find the way to print the magazine.

ARCHE Pachatak (ARCHE Beginning) is an intellectual Belarusian magazine printed in Belarusian language only. The total share of Belarusian-language books in Belarus is ca. 10 per cent. However, the state-owned publishers keep to a strict Lukashenka ideology.

Belarus still remains one of few countries where publishing books must be licensed.