Vogue Russia is no longer suspended; it’s shut
January 2022 issue of Vogue Russia. Photo: Vogue Russia. Illustration: Just So
Two weeks after Russia attacked Ukraine, Vogue Russia announced on Instagram, as well as on their webpage, that the title “will be suspending broadcasts on our platforms until further notice”. The latest, as reported in the media, is that the magazine will no longer be published in the land of Vladimir Putin. Publish Condé Nast had e-mailed a memo to its staff, stating that “the escalation in the severity of the censorship laws, which have significantly curtailed free speech and punished reporters simply for doing their jobs, has made our work in Russia untenable”. It is speculated that the Russian edition of other sibling titles under Condé Nast, such as Glamour and GQ, will also be closed.
In addition to Russia’s oppressive censoring of the media, it is possible that the luxury retail climate in the country has hastened the publisher’s decided to close Vogue. All European brands, across all price points, have suspended their businesses in Moscow and all other Russian cities. As one magazine sales executive said to us, “I doubt they will be able to get ads if they continue to publish”. Moreover, sanctions against Russia is not likely to be lifted soon. Vogue, so tethered to Western fashion brands, would be at odds with the current business sentiment pertaining to the Russo-Ukrainian war.
Vogue Russia was launched in 1998, during the Russian financial crisis that arose from the double-dread actions of the Russian government and its central bank: devaluing the rouble and defaulting on its debt. But Vogue Russia remained strong as a flagship of the Condé Nast stable. According to the publisher’s website, the magazine has over 800,000 readers. It was thought to be the most-flipped-through premium fashion title in the country. In that public announcement posted in March, the magazine wrote: “We hope that this is not a farewell letter but rather just a pause and soon we will be able to reunite with you”. It appears that that is an unlikely fate.