BBG Watch Commentary
BBG Watch has learned that Radio Liberty in Exile, a group of fired Radio Liberty journalists and their supporters, is planning a major event in Moscow to mark the 60th anniversary of Radio Liberty on March 1 in anticipation that they may be soon permitted to rejoin the station and resume their canceled human rights programs.
Radio Liberty in Exile will be inviting to the event opposition politicians, intellectuals, human rights activists and representatives Russian and foreign media. Many leaders of Russia’s democratic opposition, intellectuals and independent journalists are boycotting the official Radio Liberty since the mass firing of most of its Moscow staff last September and the appointment of Masha Gessen as the new Russian Service director.
Supporters of Radio Liberty in Exile include former President Mikhail Gorbachev, legendary human rights activist and one of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize nominees Lyudmila Alexeeva, former reformist Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and many other opposition politicians and human rights leaders.
Radio Liberty in Exile described their event as commemorating 60 years of struggle for human rights from Stalin to Putin. Their representatives have met this week in Moscow with newly-appointed RFE/RL acting president Kevin Klose who is aware of the planned event and is trying to resolve the crisis. Radio Liberty in Exile journalists were fired by Klose’s predecessor Steven Korn.
Radio Liberty in Exile has designed a special 60th anniversary banner and plans to have live video streaming on its website, Novaya Svoboda (New Liberty) from the anniversary celebration. Fired journalists also plan to conduct numerous interviews with famous Russians and former Radio Liberty personalities who support their campaign to return to the station. They will post interviews and commemorative articles on their website, Facebook page, other social media platforms and YouTube.
There is no mention of the 60th anniversary on the home page of Masha Gessen’s official Radio Liberty website. She did not cover the recent Andrei Sakharov human rights journalistic awards ceremony. One of the Sakharov awards went to a Radio Liberty in Exile journalist Elena Vlasenko who resigned in protest from Radio Liberty and to the former Radio Liberty Internet team, but Gessen declared it a low profile event.