BBG Watch Commentary

When asked what Radio Liberty means to them, most fired journalists said it is their life

Radio Liberty, 60 Years of Struggle for Human Rights, Radio Liberty in Exile
Radio Liberty, 60 Years of Struggle for Human Rights, Radio Liberty in Exile

This is a video worth watching even by those who don’t speak Russian. Recorded at the Radio Liberty 60th anniversary celebration held by Radio Liberty in Exile in Moscow on March 1, 2013, the video shows the depth of emotions among fired Radio Liberty Russian Service journalists.

When asked to describe Radio Liberty, most said it is their life. Vladimir Abarbanell said that Radio Liberty means telling the truth. Marina Timasheva and others pointed out that Radio Liberty was the only place where they were never censored while working as journalists in Russia. Former Radio Liberty Russian Service director, Italian journalist and writer Mario Corti, alluded to the fear of the previous RFE/RL management among still employed Russian Service broadcasters in Prague.

Ivan Tolstoy, who still works for RFE/RL in Prague, told the audience about a 1967 visit to Moscow by British Foreign Minister George Brown. Soviet officials demanded that he stop a BBC program with Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Allilueva that was about to be broadcast. Brown called London, the BBC was asked not to put it on the air, and all the Russian Service staff reacted by resigning. So, in order not to loose the entire staff, BBC managers had to revoke the order and the broadcast went on the air.

BBG members should ask someone to translate from Russian while watching this video to see what was done to these talented and brave journalists and what they represent in their struggle for justice.

Link to Video.

The video was produced by award-winning video journalist Mumin Shakirov who was fired last September along with dozens of other Radio Liberty Moscow bureau staffers.

He recently also produced a documentary on a trip to the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp by two young Russian women who had not learned in school about the Jewish Holocaust. Shortly before he was fired, Shakirov proposed this video project to the former RFE/RL management team and was ignored.