Always with you

February 4th marks 10th anniversary of The Minsk Times launch
By Victor Kharkov, editor

Looking at the first issue of The Minsk Times (dated February 4th, 2003) it’s as fresh and colourful as today’s issue, although differing in layout. In fact, the brightness has toned down a little since then; we’ve polished small details.

Our original aim was not to surprise but to deliver a new face for our nation, presenting Belarus to a worldwide audience. We’ve certainly managed to impress foreign readers over the years. After a few issues, we received an email from a Belgian journalist who, having worked for several Brussels editions, was impressed by ours. He was keen to join our editorial office, which was very unexpected. It was the ultimate accolade. I cannot now recollect how we settled the situation but even at that time this was true recognition and approval of the chosen way. We tried not to betray our readers in their expectations.

In our first issue, we invited readers far and wide to visit our newly sovereign state at the heart of Europe. We detailed our industrial achievements, such as making BelAZ vehicles, while explaining our currency and the circulation of foreign currencies. We also noted an order from famous brand Nike to sew sportswear.

Moreover, we printed wonderful photos one of Belarus’ main historical and cultural treasures: Mir Castle. We’d done well at the Biathlete World Cup, so our sporting column featured the winner of those competitions, carrying our national flag in hands. I refer here to the achievements of Belarusian biathlete Darya Domracheva — one of the leaders of the world biathlon among women. Freestyle aerial jumper Dmitry Dashchinsky appeared on the same page, smiling from the medals podium. A few issues previously, he’d been on the front page for his medal at the Freestyle Aerials World Cup. Our sportsmen and women continue to go from strength to strength, as do our successes in other spheres. Looking at our front pages from the past decade, I cannot help but feel pride in these achievements.

I often pass Minsk’s Railway Station and always admire its beauty. In February 2003, this beautiful and contemporary railway station was newly opened, dazzling in glass and concrete. A photo from its official launch shows sunlight glinting from the faзade, while a young girl in national costume stands nearby. The caption reads: ‘Welcome to Belarus’. This symbol of Belarusian hospitality began operation at the same time as our newspaper.

One decade on, we’re pleased to still be welcoming our readers. As to whether we’ve changed over time, you are the best judge. We’ve endeavoured to move with the times, avoiding stagnation, although our appearance is much the same. Perhaps the biggest difference is in our content. We’ve worked hard to appeal to varying tastes and interests while revealing our country’s wealth of talent and economic potential. It’s been no hard task, since there are so many wonderful stories to report on and people seem to have an unending desire to learn about modern Belarus.

We hope that our newspaper has brought our readership closer to Belarus, showing our character and determination, which are built upon our rich historical and cultural legacy. In a word, we’ll continue to keep you informed.
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