In a prime-time interview aired on October 17 with the heads of Russia’s three largest television stations, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that during the Cold War, his former employer — the KGB — viewed Radio Svoboda as a branch of the CIA engaged in spying in the former Soviet Union, the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) reported. CUSIB also provided a commentary by its co-founder Ted Lipien.
RFE/RL analyst Charles Dameron took issue with another of Putin’s claims in the same interview. Putin said that NTV’s Vladimir Kulistikov’s move to state television from Radio Svoboda is evidence of Russia’s liberalization. Kulistikov was one of the reporters asking questions.
The RFE/RL analyst pointed out that dozens of journalists in Russia have been killed during Mr. Putin’s rule because they offended the authorities.
Ted Lipien said that there was a clear purpose to Vladimir Putin’s comments linking Radio Svoboda to spying on the USSR during the Cold War. Such comments, Lipien said, are designed to intimidate both journalists and Radio Svoboda’s potential audience in Russia, in addition to reassuring Prime Minister’s Putin’s nationalistic supporters.
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Putin goes after Radio Svoboda on Russian TV — CUSIB