Mark Pomar (Russian Institute ’76; Ph.D., Slavic Languages ’78; member Harriman National Advisory Council) was interviewed on the Kennan Institute’s “The Russia File” podcast about his recent book Cold War Radio: The Russian Broadcasts of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty.
When in 1991 Boris Yeltsin invited Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to open a news bureau in Russia, the move was hailed as the clearest sign yet that the Cold War was ending. Last year, Vladimir Putin’s regime forced RFE/RL to shut down its operations, causing staff to leave the country along with other Russian independent journalists, dissidents, and human rights defenders. With the current exodus from Russia reaching levels comparable to those following the 1917 revolution, the experience of “Cold War radio” has suddenly become relevant again. What lessons does American international broadcasting, widely acknowledged as one of the United States’ Cold War triumphs, hold for the current moment? What practices could today’s political exiles from Russia emulate to connect to their compatriots inside the country? Izabella Tabarovsky explores these questions in her conversation with Mark Pomar, author of Cold War Radio: The Russian Broadcasts of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.