This commentary was written by an anonymous Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist who broadcasts into Central Asia and Russia.
The swift, brutal and destructive way in which the President of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Mr. Steven Korn dispatched the journalists of Radio Svoboda’s (Radio Liberty) Moscow bureau should earn him the nickname “Chingiz Korn.” Just as Chingiz Khan (Genghiz Khan) sent his two generals Subustai and Jebe into Samarkand to round up the citizenry for summary execution, so did Chingiz Korn dispatch his Vice Presidents from Prague to carry out the dismissal of most of the journalistic staff. The callous way these soldiers of the truth were tossed to the side to make way for the new manager Masha Gessen shows no appreciation for their past efforts, and no respect for their human dignity.
Of course, the way in which this was carried out begs those who have a journalist’s instincts to posit the question, “Why?” Does Mr. Korn believe that these employees are not worthy to enter the new large temple he is building with U.S. taxpayers’ money on the Garden Ring in Moscow? Perhaps these people who have spent their entire careers in pursuit of the truth with little regard for personal safety were considered to be too difficult to control for the incoming manager? Or maybe they were too old or too white, and unlike in Prague he decided not to be gender specific?
The next question that needs to be asked is what is next for the rest of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty? If Mr. Korn and his vizors are using the move to “digital broadcasts” as the stated reasons to remove qualified journalists who are leaders in digital and social media from their posts in Moscow, where will these executives head next. Like his namesake will Chingiz Korn send his “generals” to the Caucuses where there are moves planned for the offices in Yerevan and Tblisi? Are the currently-employed journalists not worthy of their new temples? What of the old radio warriors in Prague? Are they too old to be able to communicate ideas digitally?
Only Mr. Korn can answer these questions, but one thing is for sure, with the taste of blood in fresh in his mouth, he was able to justify the unjustifiable to his Washington bosses at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), and one can only assume that he is just getting started.