A winning hand for Russia’s only street paper as Put Domoi turns 21

Happy Birthday supporters thank you from Put Domoi.

This image – recently sent out as a digital postcard to supporters – celebrates 21 years of Put Domoi, Russia’s only street paper.

The cards – an ace and a 10 – represent a winning hand in the game Blackjack. It is a neat metaphor for the St. Petersburg-based publication’s victorious 21 years in print.

Put Domoi’s editor and CEO Arkadii Tiurin said the paper is lucky to have strong local support.

“We have great and reliable unofficial fan club,” he added.

“The famous Russian advertising agency Devbrand said Put Domoi is ‘the most successful non-commercial publishing project in Russia’.

“The only thing I should do in this case is to agree.”

Put Domoi works with a team of around 16 regular vendors. Most are over 60 and many are physically or mentally disabled. They sell the monthly publication outside Metro stations around St. Petersburg for 30 RUB (£0.32 / $0.48 / €0.43) and keep 50% of the profits.

The street paper also works to provide additional funding for vendors to help them pay for medical treatments.

“They had no place to go and we promised them to be with them till death do us part,” said Arkadii.

“So now we are a kind of employment hospice and offer art therapy. Our vendors can’t imagine themselves without us. We can’t imagine ourselves without them — and our city without our newspaper. And our city can’t imagine itself without us.”

According to local non-profit Nochlyezhka [Night Shelter], there are around 30,000 – 50,000 people experiencing homelessness in St. Petersburg. Approximately 5,000 of that number sleep rough.