Worthy Christian News » Christian » Ukrainian Entrepreneur Seeks to Launch "Christianity" Magazine in the Former Soviet Union
June 12, 2001
KIEV, UKRAINE, (ANS) -- Thirty-four-year-old high-tech magazine editor Alex Yefetov was born and raised in Kyiv (Kiev), the capital of Ukraine. His family are computer scientists. With his knowledge of computer, high-tech, business and telecomm magazine publishing, Yefetov is seeking to launch "Christianity," the first such Christian magazine of its kind in the former Soviet Union.
In 1989 Alex graduated from Kyiv State University with a Diploma (B.Sc.) in Theoretical Nuclear Physics. After graduation, he worked for 2 years in the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (Kyiv). His writings on high-energy physics have been published in the leading international scientific journals (Annals of Physics, Physical Review).
From 1992-94, Alex completed the M.Sc. degree in Physics/Scientific Computations at York University, Toronto, where he also taught Natural Science courses to the first year arts and science majors. This greatly enhanced his English language skills.
After returning to Ukraine in 1994, Alex worked for a small PC manufacturing company. In 1995 he helped to start CHIP Computer Magazine. In 1996 he became Editor-in-Chief of this publication. Within 5 years CHIP magazine became the #1 Internet Technology publication in Ukraine and the leading business monthly edition.
Since fall 1999, Alex has been Editorial Director of SoftPress company, which was established in 1995 to promote CHIP Magazine in Ukraine. SoftPress became one of the largest publishing houses in Ukraine, and today publishes seven highly successful magazines in areas of business and technology. These publications have captured 53% of the information technology and 70% of telecom media markets.
In 1997 Alex was born again after the witness of his best friend, who had become a follower of Jesus Christ just a short time before, while in prison. Since then his life has never been the same. He worships the Lord at the Revival evangelical church in Kyiv.
Alex is married and he and his wife, Oksana, have 2 children. In 2000, due to the serious eye illness of their youngest child, they learned of and researched the blind children support system in the US - - and compared it with what was available in Ukraine. As a result, the "Light Of Life" public charitable organization was founded in 2001, which focuses on early intervention programs for children with severe visual impairments, and also on parent support groups. Alex serves as Chairman of that organization.
In 2000, Alex felt the Lord's call to start a non-denominational Christian magazine in Ukraine. He believes he is to utilize his expertise and experience in publishing to serve the Body of Christ. Alex believes the Lord has given him the vision and plan to publish "Christianity" which will serve a wide audience of Russian-speaking Christians in many countries. In January 2001, "Christianity" was registered as an official publication in Ukraine.
Once publication is launched, Alex plans to spend full time on "Christianity" magazine and the Blind Children's Center. At that time, he will then resign his present position at SoftPress and serve them only on a consulting basis.
"As a professional editor, I cannot (unfortunately) just READ the magazine," said Yefetov. "To my great regret, I always unconsciously start trying to analyze it, compare the job done by the editorial team with my own understanding of the subject and the target group, etc. Sometimes it just makes me mad, sometimes it gives new ideas and solutions in my own projects.
"When I saw the Christian publications available in Ukraine and Russia, I realized that due to different reasons their concept/content/design were far from perfection. At the same time, many of them were strictly focused on the interests of the specific denomination or, on the contrary, cover the 'border' topics like culture, philosophy, art, etc." he said.
Yefetov said he was very much surprised to learn that in the whole territory of former USSR (1/6th of the world!) there is NO strong, well-done, balanced, really non-denominational Christian magazine. "I also realized that the niche is really big -- there are more than 2 million non-nominal believers in Ukraine and Russia only -- and still it is empty. And at that time I thought: 'Hey, that might be the call from God to you, man, to do this job.' I started thinking more and more about it. I experienced many up and downs on that way. I believe that the Lord gave several signs that it is really a part of His will.
"We plan to start the magazine as soon as we will generate enough resources for three issues, otherwise it might be too risky. As our market studies show, Christian readers expect and really value the periodicals to be really periodic!" said Yefetov.
"We hope it will be the fall 2001. It will definitely be printed in Ukraine -- the print houses here can provide a world class quality of production. We plan to start from 10,000 as a minimum. The fairly modest estimations say we can at least triple the circulation in one and a half to two years," he said.
Yefetov said:"The task of the magazine is to serve a wide audience of Christian believers by providing broad views of modern and historical aspects of Christianity. It will help readers build strong foundations of faith by asking the questions and trying to find answers to them from the whole Body of Christ, by delivering balanced teaching, open discussion, a variety of opinions, historical parallels, and personal witnesses. It will give no preference or privilege to any denomination or religious group, but rather concentrate on the variety of issues all Christians have in common."
Christianity magazine is aimed at active Christians, laity as well as church leaders, pastors, and students enrolled in seminaries and biblical colleges, said Yefetov. "'Christianity' is the magazine for those who want to look beyond their local congregation, to understand what is going on in the whole Body of Christ, to know general trends in modern Christianity as well as its history, the problems and challenges it is facing today around the world. It is for those who are ready to listen to different opinions and who value the general Christian issues much more than the doctrinal details of their denomination."
Here is the magazine's contents outline -- it shows the sections of the magazine with the volume percentage and materials descriptions:
**Last Times -- news and reports from Ukraine/CIS/around the world including new books surveys and Christian culture news (music, Praise &Worship, painting, etc)(10%)
**Body of Christ -- general trends in contemporary Christianity, problems and challenges it faces today, the life of the Christian Church, Christianity and society (15%)
**Life In the Spirit -- everyday experience of Christian life, problems and their solutions, variety of examples and opinions, advice and counseling (15%)
**Studies -- new theories, theological and philosophical views and concepts, ideas and opinions -- informative but balanced (10%)
**History -- facts of the past seen from today, historical parallels, lessons from the past we should remember today (10%)
**Heroes of Faith -- stories of the men of God and personal witnesses from the past and present -- great examples of walking in Christ and God's work in our lives (13%)
**Scriptures -- deep studies of the Word of God, Bible interpretation and commentaries, Scripture analysis (7%)
**Christian Family -- biblical look on family relations, parents and their children,-- practical advice, counseling (5%)
**Science and Faith -- achievements of modern science and the Scriptures -- facts and theories, studies and discoveries (5%)
During an initial phase, approximately 70% of the content of Christianity will be articles licensed from well-known US Christian publications with similar editorial concepts, 30 percent original. As the editorial team develops local authors, the ratio will reverse, Yefetov said.
"Today we already gained the general agreements regarding the content licensing with several leading American publications, including the CTI editions, Focus On The Family and Walk Thru The Bible publications, as well as Christian Research Magazine," he said.
The magazine will cost around $1.50 - $2 (75 pages issue). "We plan to make it available not only thru the Christian stores and (by) subscription but also through the secular kiosks -- an unprecedented situation in Ukraine with a Christian edition.
"Christianity magazine is planned as a self-supportive project. The funding will come both from the subscription/sales and from advertising. We believe it will achieve a break even level and become self-supporting approximately one-and-a-half to two years after launch. Within one and one-half to two years, Christianity can become the most popular magazine in the Russian-speaking Christian world," Yefetov said.
"Regarding the start-up funds, we look for the people of vision. This might be either persons or institutions who have a heart for the Christians in former USSR countries. Although we will deeply appreciate donations from the congregations, we do not plan to make them a main source of support as it might affect the non-denominational status of the project," he said.
Yefetov quoted Esther 4:14 as one of his favorite verses regarding how God has prepared him for such a publishing venture: "... And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
"I think that my very fast and successful career in publishing is the preparation time generously granted by the Lord for this project to serve His Church, " Yefetov said.
Yefetov said the publication will have an a associated website and that it is under construction now. "Light of Life is actually the organization which will carry out two main projects in Ukraine. One is the magazine and the second one is the Blind Children Support center I mentioned briefly above. Hence the name -- the goal is to bring the alternative 'light' in the life of the blind kids through the special education and training programs and to bring more spiritual light in the life of Russian speaking Christians through the Christian magazine."
Yefetov said that Soon the community-type web site of the Blind children center will be up and running at: www.lightoflife.kiev.ua. "There we plan to put all the information, news, publications on the subject. In our opinion, this website should help a lot with identifying the right people for us to work for and to work with not only in whole Ukraine but also around the Commonwealth of Independent States. Also, it will give tremendous opportunities to provide those who needs the information with it in the easiest way. And it will inform many other people around the world, about our progress. We plan the English version of some pages as well.
"Later, as the magazine project will start, we will add the magazine pages to the web site," he added.