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Risk-Taking Russian Newspaper Pushed Out of Print

by Jake Mohan 

Tags: media, alt-weeklies, Russia, bureaucracy, the eXile,

the_exileIt’s a familiar story—a much-loved alt-weekly buckles under money troubles—but this time it’s happening overseas, with complex political ramifications. The eXile, a sassy English-language biweekly newspaper published for expats in Moscow, has ceased publication; the St. Petersburg Times reports that the paper's investors were spooked after officials from Russia's media bureau paid a visit to the eXile office, announcing plans to inspect the paper's archives for “extremist” content.

At the eXile’s website you can browse the archives, while they still exist, to sample some of the irreverent writing that earned the paper so many friends (and enemies) over the past eleven years, leavening puerile humor with incisive analysis of Russia’s fraught political system. (The cover of the final issue sums up the paper's mission succinctly and characteristically: “In a nation terrorized by its own government, one paper dared to fart in its face.”)

Mother Jones has already delivered a brief eulogy, eXile editor-in-chief Mark Ames is providing regular updates on the paper's fate at Radar, and eXile contributor Sean Guillory analyzes the reasons behind the shutdown on his blog. In the meantime, the eXile is accepting PayPal donations to move its servers to another, friendlier country: no more “.ru” at the end of the domain name; no more politically defiant coverage of Russia as seen through the eyes of Western émigrés.