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Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

John D. H. Downing


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Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty were among the half dozen major broadcast information sources for the Soviet bloc from soon after World War II until the final collapse of the Soviet system in 1991. The two shortwave stations were covertly founded in 1950 (Radio Free Europe) and 1953 (Radio Liberation from Bolshevism, its initial title) by the US Central Intelligence Agency. Radio Liberty broadcast to the citizens of the Soviet Union, and Radio Free Europe to most of the sovietized eastern and central Europe, including the Balkan states. Radio Liberty's signal began to reach the USSR with any strength only in 1960 (→  International Radio ). There were exceptions to the coverage. One was the German Democratic Republic, which was covered by RIAS (Radio in the American Sector) broadcasting out of West Berlin, and another was Albania, where the absence of shortwave sets in the country and the scarcity of Albanian speakers in the USA rendered the project impracticable. Yugoslavia was defined, after the 1948 Stalin–Tito break, as a halfway house of sorts between the Soviet bloc and the west, and began to receive a multilingual “South Slav” broadcast service only in 1993 as the federal Yugoslav republic disintegrated into its constituent elements. The three Baltic republics, for a complex variety of reasons, were not fully covered until the 1980s, while the USSR's non-Russophones received ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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