There is a good saying for the North Caucasus branch of Radio Liberty (known in Russia as "Svoboda"): practice makes perfect. Russian Assistant President Sergey Yastrzhembsky announced Moscow’s position on the subject.
Radio Liberty, which exists based on funding of the American government, started broadcasting its programs in the North Caucasus last night in the Russian, Chechen, Avar, and Cherkess languages. As was expected, the first programs exercised a very one-sided and narrow approach to the issue of the Chechen war.
The reaction from Moscow was immediate. Yastrzhembsky said that the pessimistic forecasts regarding the direction of the North Caucasian service of Radio Liberty were coming true. The assistant president gave an example: the material of Novaya Gazeta writer Anna Politkovskaya, who wrote about a January operation of the Russian federal forces in the settlement of Stariye Atagy. “It would be logical to expect that Radio Liberty will pay attention of their listeners to the contents of the principally important order that was issued by the headquarters commander Vladimir Moltensky, since it has become a very relevant event in the public life of the republic, having echoed a lot there. However, there was only one point of view given on the issue instead. The problem is that the actions of the soldiers was shown in a one-sided way, through the prism of the well-known position of the Novaya Gazeta writer, Anna Politkovskaya,” – Yastrzhembksy said.
PRAVDA.Ru has already published the article &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/02/27308.html' target=_blank>“Liberty for Chechens?”, in which it was said what the outcome could be for the Chechen office of Radio Liberty.
Russia promises to carefully watch the subject of the programs. In the meantime, Washington stated that the concern of the federal government regarding the policy of the North Caucasian service of Radio Liberty was absolutely pointless. Colin Powell claimed that the broadcasting of the new office did not at all have the objective to cause damage to Russia or to the Russian-American relations. As NBC reported, Washington “took Russia’s concerns into consideration” and discussed it with the staff of journalists. Radio Liberty director Thomas Dine stressed in his statement that the direction of the programs would be precise and unbiased, respecting the human rights of all the citizens of the eastern region. Well then, nothing to add, nothing to lessen. We just have to feel sorry for Russia, because it does not have such instruments of informational influence on the foreign public opinion.
Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov