Thomas Kent (Adjunct Professor, International Affairs) writes on how Putin may cripple Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Eurasia Daily Monitor (Jamestown Foundation, January 25, 2021). Kent, a former president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, is a Senior Fellow at Jamestown Foundation:
After two decades of restrictions and harassment, President Vladimir Putin’s government is on the verge of forcing Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) to shut down its operations in Russia. The prospect sets up an immediate test for the new administration in the United States: can President Joseph Biden save one of the biggest news sources in Russia that is not under Kremlin control?
It is somewhat remarkable that RFE/RL, a private company financed by the US Congress and based in Prague, has survived at all in Putin’s Russia. Its Moscow bureau employs about 50 people, almost all of them Russian citizens. Some 250 freelancers report from across the country. When Russians demonstrated Saturday (January 23) for the release of Alexei Navalny, the bureau streamed live video coverage to Russian audiences (Svoboda.org, January 23, 2021). RFE/RL runs local news sites in several Russian regions and is active on social networks (see EDM, June 24, 2020; see Commentaries, June 26, 2013). Its current news coverage includes COVID-19 in Russia, environmental issues and corruption.