Moscow - Radio Liberty will stop its medium-wave broadcasts in Russia starting Nov. 10 but will preserve its online broadcasts, Yelena Glushkova, the head of the Radio Free Europe office in Russia, told Interfax.
“We plan to stop our medium-wave broadcasts starting Nov. 10, as
this is stipulated by Russian law. There are more than 48% of foreigners
among our founders, and therefore we have no right to continue
broadcasts in this range in Russia. Our lawyers recommended such a
solution to us so as not to violate Russian law, and we always comply
with the letter of the law,” she said.
Glushkova pointed out that the termination of MW broadcasts has no
relation to the coming of new head of Radio Liberty’s Moscow office
Maria (Masha) Gessen.
“This has no relation to Maria Gessen. We simply do not want to break
the law. But we will certainly remain on the Internet and will continue
broadcasting there,” she said.
A source from Radio Liberty had told Interfax earlier on Friday that employees of its Moscow office were being sacked in droves.
“Virtually everybody is getting sacked – they are calling them in
alphabetical order and giving them a sack. True, they offer
compensations depending on who is sacked,” the source said.
Radio Liberty management says in explaining its moves that the
Russian law is being amended and the radio station will have no
frequency on medium waves, and therefore its broadcasts will be
available only online, he said.
“In reality, everything is being mopped up for Ms. Gessen, who has
been appointed the new head of Radio Liberty’s Moscow office,” he said.
Gessen herself said on Facebook that she did not order the firing of the radio station’s Internet service.
Gessen said she had sent a letter to Radio Free Europe in May as a
consultant, in which she “described the general situation in the Moscow
office and gave a number of recommendations, noting that a decision on
particular individuals would have to be made by a new director, whoever
“The RFE management answered to the effect that ‘many thanks’ and
everything was certainly right, but waiting for a new director to come
is a luxury that they could not afford and that the service should have
been reformed yesterday,” Gessen said.
She insisted that all decisions on personnel this week were made not by her but by the previous management.
“By this moment (Gessen’s appointment as the director), the reform
plan, including the roster, had been drawn up, and I was invited
precisely to the position of the director of a reformed service, and
this is the very job I accepted. I have no reasons to doubt that the
decisions that were made are right: all that I know about the
decision-making process makes me think that these decisions are correct.
That they were not made by me is just a historical fact,” Gessen said.
It was reported earlier that Lyudmila Telen, the editor of Radio
Liberty’s website, had announced the dismissal of the radio station’s
Internet service on Facebook, saying that this was Gessen’s decision.