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This report is taken from PN Review 95, Volume 20 Number 3, January - February 1994.

Letter from St Petersburg Jeremy Noble

I have another job. I am now moonlighting as the arts correspondent of the English language St Petersburg Press. This is a free weekly newspaper started by an energetic New Zealander in his late twenties who 'back-packed his way here: He first edited the pilot issue of Petropolitan, a paper started by Russians wishing to cash in on the increasing number of English-speaking foreigners both visiting and living here. When his Russian employers, however, characteristically refused to give him a free hand he left to start his own paper. He found Russian backers with the all-important connections - access to scarce newsprint, friends at the mayor's office -and assisted only by one other, they put together an eight page newspaper and themselves distributed the thousand or so copies to hotels, western offices and restaurants. Six months later, St Petersburg Press has sixteen pages, with a print run of twenty thousand. They have moved into new offices in the Palace of Youth (a Seventies tower block overlooking the Neva river), and taken on staff: journalists, an advertising manager, a lay-out specialist, and me.

We are perhaps a representative cross-section of the young expatriate community here: a Scot who came on holiday for a week last year and stayed, an American girl who studied Russian at Brown University, a student from the London School of Economics who is always going back 'next week'. We also have English-speaking Russians who have defected from Russian newspapers.

In my first ...

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