Pavel Yakubovich, Chief Editor, ‘SB. Belarus Segodnia’ newspaper

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Pavel Yakubovich, Chief Editor, ‘SB. Belarus Segodnia’ newspaper

This quiet, talkative, confident person is not just the editor-in-chief of the country’s major governmental newspaper. Pavel Yakubovich is a symbol.

He gained popularity as author of satirical articles and football reports back when the majority of the Belarusians did not even know their future president’s name. Yakubovich is a sharp-tongued journalist and he knows the word’s worth. His articles were published in the most democratic Belarusian editions: Znamya Yunosti newspaper, Krynitsa magazine and Narodnaya Gazeta newspaper during the perestroika, where he focused on political issues. The 1991 coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev gave Pavel Yakubovich an opportunity to show civil courage and the ability to feel the time better than any politician does: he was the only Belarusian journalist who condemned the State Committee on the State of Emergency for which he was awarded an international journalism award.

In 1995 President Aleksandr Lukashenko appointed Yakubovich as the Editor-in-Chief of the Sovetskaya Belorussia newspaper – a relic of the Soviet era. The popular journalist was to make it the best newspaper in the country. Yakubovich achieved this goal. Without any doubt his newspaper is the most professional edition among those funded by the state and for this people should make allowance for him. But when you talk to the Editor, one of the few Belarusian ideologues, who dares to have open debates with foreign journalists, you feel how through the smoke of expensive tobacco hovering around him his professional dissatisfaction filters its way: he would like to work for a different newspaper. One that is free, without the necessity to serve to the state.

But he can’t. The laureate of the Presidential award For Spiritual Revival, a member of the Council of the Republic, Pavel Yakubovich is not only a soldier, but also a hostage of the authorities, providing his status.

But he is a good company. And you should try to arrange a meeting with him.

Official biography, Pavel Yakubovich becomes a member of the Council of the Republic, Pavel Yakubovich becomes a member of the Belarusian Football Federation’s Executive Committee, Bloggers vs Professional journalists, collection of articles

Author: Handbook on Belarus for International journalists