Argumenti i Fakti - is a relatively young periodical. In 1978 the Soviet Union-wide Znaiye society started publishing a bulletin for lecturers and propagandists. In those days, after the dull stuff, it printed statistical data, information from the foreign press, and other interesting facts that were difficult to find in other publications.
AiF’s popularity and circulation continued to grow, and in 1983 it began to be published as a weekly newspaper. At that time the newspaper was not available at retail outlets, as subscription was limited, and so AiF remained for a long time a special publication only for those who needed political information. Naturally, all materials were chosen very carefully and were subjected to strict censorship.
After 1985, with the beginning of perestroika, there was hope that the situation would change. AiF's journalists and editor-in-chief were ahead of the times, and started to work according to glasnost ('openness') principles. This brought them into conflict with the Communist Party and particular with Mikhail Gorbachev, who wanted to fire AiF's editor-in-chief Vladislav Starkov.
For the first time in the history of Soviet journalism, the publication did not give in to pressure from the idealogical bodies above them, and together with millions of readers, defended their editor, foresaging the downfall of the totalitarian regime. And a year later, in 1990, the weekly Argumenti i Fakti made it into the Guiness Book of World Records as the highest-circulation publication in the world. Five years later it was names 'the best newspaper of the year'. And then the weekly won an international prize as 'the best non-English language publication in the world'.
Marking its 20th aniversary, AiF won a professional competition held by the guild of periodicals publishers, for 'the best weekly in Russia for 1998'. And today the newspaper maintains its position: it remains a quality, professional publication on a huge scale. Every week it is read by almost 11 million people.
Argumenty i Fakty is 30 years old this year
2008 is a big year for the weekly AiF, as it is the paper's 30th birthday. For all these many years, AiF has remained a leader among cultural-political weeklies. According to Russia's National Circulation Service, its circulation is 3,055,170 per week. The AiF phenomenon is that the newspaper manages to keep its millions of readers interested, without turning to yellow journalism.
AiF's policy is to honestly and objectively illustrate the issues in concise, clear language, and to protect its readers' interests from the authorities at various levels, with a high level of sympathy, ethics, and humanity. Unfortunately, it now seems that the more naked women, and the more parties, the better. “But reading is an intellectual act,” says Argumenti i Fakti editor-in-chief Nikolai Zyatkov. “Most of the population still wants to understand the underlying situation, and get good information from reliable experts. The demand for reliable information cannot be met with the soap operas that the modern press finds so appealing, with big, shocking photos. We also write about scandalous goings-on, we expose the events, but in doing so we do not cross the line.”
The quality of the journalism remains high, which is why AiF interests so many – businessmen, politicians, clerks, and the creative intelligentsia. According to Gallup media, each AiF edition is read by 9,258,100 people, or 11.7% of the entire Russian population over the age of 16. Over half a year, 22,444,500 people across Russia read the newspaper. During AiF hotlines, up to 140,000 telephone calls are received..
AiF's record of achievments is a source of pride not only for the weekly's staff, but for the Russian press as a whole. In 1990, Argumenti i Fakti circulation was recorded in the Cuiness Book of World Records as the highest in the world. In 1996, AiF was awarded the golden prize in the 'Crystal Ball' for the best non-English language newspaper.
AiF has the largest network of regional offices – 66 in Russia and 16 abroad. AiF is read in 60 countries on five continents.
The newspaper is celebrating its anniversary with a number of projects, including a Russia-wide environmental action 'Clean Russia', and intellectual project 'What Should Russia Be Like', and editorial projects 'Hero of our Times' and 'Success-30'. A special free gift issue of Argumenti i Fakti and a collection of quotes will be distributed in Moscow and other large cities. The people's favorite weekly newspaper's thirtieth anniversary will be celebrated at various City Days in many Russian regions.
Argumenti i Fakti officed, 42 Ulitsa Myasnitskaya, Moscow