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RFE/RL Review August 31, 2006


The PDF version is available at http://www.rferl.org/reviews/

RFE/RL REVIEW
The Best of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Reporting
-----------------
July 1-August 31, 2006


RFE/RL'S COVERAGE OF THE MIDDLE EAST WAR

RFE/RL provided extensive coverage of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Roughly two-thirds of RFE/RL's broadcast region is inhabited by Muslims, including Chechens in Russia, Crimean Tatars in Ukraine, and Albanians and Bosnians in the Balkans, as well as Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians and the people of Central Asia. RFE/RL's Central News (CN) department was the chief news source. During the first two weeks of the conflict, CN issued as many as half a dozen reports a day, including analyses, features, straight news updates and amplifiers on the rolling story. Language services added local angles in interviews with local and international experts, politicians, refugees and the public. These reports are available online, at: http://www.rferl.org/featuresarchive/country/israel.html.
RFE/RL language broadcasts, compared with local media, provided listeners balance and missing perspective as well as facts on U.S. and Israeli positions that were otherwise unavailable. A sampling of programming follows.

* Central News Analyses included Iran's interests in the region and the extent of its support for Hezbollah (July 17); U.S. and European policies; a review of Hezbollah past and present (July 20) and possible UN deployment of a multilateral security force for Lebanon (July 18); an Iranian journalist's view on what Iran could do to end the conflict; interviews with Central Asians and Azerbaijanis on their reaction to the war (July 20); an interview with Yossi Mekelberg, Middle East expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) on U.S., European and Arab positions (July 21); Iran's economy and challenges to its president (July 22); U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's talks in the Middle East (July 24, 25, 26); Iran's current relations with Lebanon (July 24); comments on the crisis at a trilateral summit of Iranian, Tajik, Afghan presidents in Dushanbe (July 24, 26); and Rice at the Rome conference (July 26). In a RFE/RL report July 21, RFE/RL asked people in Azerbaijan and in predominantly Muslim Central Asia how they see the conflict. Tajiks condemned the violence and expressed skepticism about Israel's reasons for going to war. In Kazakhstan, most people expressed sympathy for Lebanese civilians; Uzbeks were critical of Israel and supportive of Hezbollah; Azerbaijanis were angry that "peaceful Muslims are being killed;" Other coverage included an interview with Marina Ottaway of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on the Rome conference; why Russia's list of terrorist groups does not include Hamas or Hezbollah (July 28), Iranian 'volunteers' and military personnel in Lebanon (July 31), Al Qaeda's dilemma in the Israel-Hezbollah war (July 31).

* Radio Farda Radio Farda, which broadcasts 24 hours a day in Farsi to Iran, expanded news coverage by 20 minutes in the first ten days of the crisis and doubled its reporting from correspondents in Jerusalem, Rome and Cairo. Radio Farda aired special 15-minute packages every week and conducted interviews with US and Iranian experts, giving facts and views on both sides of the conflict. A Washington-based reporter for Radio Farda traveled to northern Israel and filed reports on Israelis living in the war zone and a sizeable community of Iranians, mostly non-Jewish, who had settled in Israel decades ago. Among the interviews aired by Radio Farda: > On July 17, Radio Farda spoke to Judith Kipper, a Council on Foreign Relations Middle East expert, who analyzed the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. In the interview, Kipper noted that "Syria and Iran are both patrons of Hezbollah." She added that, "We're still in the phase of escalation and it is extremely dangerous and quite devastating to both Lebanon and Israel". > Paul Scham, Adjunct Scholar at the Middle East Institute, told Radio Farda in an interview on July 19 that even if Iran did not cause the current crisis in the Lebanon, it is involved "in trying to keep it going" by encouraging Hezbollah to fight. > Radio Farda interviewed the U.S. State Department's Director of Public Diplomacy in its Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Alberto Fernandez, on Iran's role in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. During an interview, which was broadcast on July 20, Fernandez told listeners that the escalation of violence in both Lebanon and Israel is a great tragedy and is the result of a "cold provocation by Hezbollah" that was carried out without the approval of Lebanese government. Fernandez told Radio Farda that, "Iran funds Hezbollah to the tune of $200 million a year" and that it "played a critical role in the formation of Hezbollah, which was formed with the direct intervention of Iranian intelligence and the Iranian 'Pasdaran' [Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-eds] over the past two decades." > In a July 21 broadcast, Yossi Mekelberg of Chatham House, London's Royal Institute of International Affairs, commented on the projected length of the conflict between Israel and Lebanon and possible measures to ensure a ceasefire. He said, "The Lebanese government is not strong enough. The Lebanese Army is not strong enough. It has to be a combination of international pressure that will go through Tehran and Damascus, an international force deployed along the border between Israel and Lebanon that pushes Hezbollah fighters over the Litani River, -- which is 40 kilometers from the border -- and a verifiable process in which the rockets are dismantled. So it's a complicated agreement in which you have a non-state actor [that] basically defies the central government." > In a Radio Farda interview on July 26, Shahram Chubin, Director of the Geneva Center for Strategic Studies, spoke about Hezbollah's motives and goals. Chubin described Hezbollah as both a political and military force in Lebanon. It enjoys the widespread support of other Shiites throughout the region and, as a result of this support, cannot be eradicated, he said.

* Tajik Service Broadcasts Iranian President's Initial Comments Correspondents for RFE/RL's Tajik Service were at the July 25 press conference of visiting Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in Dushanbe and the first to report his comment on the war in Lebanon, that the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah could trigger a "storm" in the region with destructive consequences.
The Tajik Service had up-to-the-minute reporting of the visit, in 3 live news programs that day that included audio of speeches by the presidents of Iran and Tajikistan. Listeners responded with direct web page comment on the visit. RFE/RL provided in its broadcast background on the cultural and historical ties between the two nations, and news of the signing of economic agreements through which Iran is investing over $250 million in Tajikistan, including the building of the strategic Anzob Tunnel joining Tajikistan's capital with the northern Tajik city of Khojand and the construction of the Sangtuda-2 hydroelectric power plant. Several Tajik experts spoke to the service about the importance of these agreements and the rivalry between Iran and Russia -- which is investing in Tajikistan's other major power plant at Raghoon.

* Radio Free Afghanistan RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan added a daily international review of press on the crisis to its programming schedule. Radio Free Afghanistan's correspondent in Cairo filed more than 20 reports in July on Egyptian and Arab reaction, as well as the views of politicians, experts, and ordinary people. During the first week of the conflict, Radio Free Afghanistan interviewed an Afghan student from Beirut who had fled to Syria, to give listeners an idea of what he had experienced. Radio Free Afghanistan's correspondents informally polled people on Kabul streets for their views on the crisis: about 20 percent favored an immediate halt to the conflict, while the majority expressed pro-Arab, anti-Israeli opinions. Radio Free Afghanistan also had a correspondent on location in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif to cover a pro-Lebanon demonstration there. Programs were heavily analytical, including interviews with Kabul-based Afghan experts on the Middle East and academics in the U.S., including Qayam Mohmand, the head of the Middle East Institute of the University of Utah, and a political scientist at the University of Nebraska.

* Radio Free Iraq (RFI) RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq aired Central News reports as the main body of its news coverage, adding features and local reaction in reports from its correspondents in Jerusalem, Cairo, Damascus, Amman, Kuwait and Iraq.

* Russian Service RFE/RL's Russian service provided listeners several times a day with news stories, often from the service's correspondent in Israel. RFE/RL provided daily analyses by Western and Russian experts, question and answer programs for listeners, and on-the-street interviews. The service broadcast an exclusive interview with distinguished British author and Middle East expert Frederic Forsyth, as well as programs analyzing Hezbollah -- its history, affiliations, aims, and religious, military, and national aspects, with input from Western experts: > July 13 -- the day hostilities started, an interview with Magnus Ranstorp of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College and Hazem Saghieh of the newspaper "Al-Hayat"; > July 14 --Syria's and Iran's reaction on the war discussed by Mouin Rabbani of the International Crisis Group; > July 26 -- on the "Time of Guests," live talk show, discussion of Lebanon's future with a leading Russian expert Georgy Mirsky; > July 28 -- interview with Israeli Knesset Deputy Avigdor Liberman. > July 28 -- Suat Kinikli-Oglu of the German Marshall Fund discussing EU, Turkey and the Mideast Crisis. > August 2 -- Brookings Institution roundtable with former U.S. diplomat Martin Indyk, Israeli General Michael Herzog and Arab journalist Hisham Milhem discussing policy options for the United States.

* Ukrainian Service A correspondent for RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service interviewed former Ukrainians living in Israel to get their reaction to the war, and found that all supported their government while some were sympathetic to the suffering of civilians in Lebanon. The service also conducted on-the- street interviews in Kyiv, which showed a fairly even split in public opinion between support for Hezbollah, support for Israel, and calls for an immediate halt to the violence. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry officials were interviewed about the evacuation of some 1,100 Ukrainian citizens and their families from Lebanon. The service also sent a correspondent to interview members of the small Lebanese community living in Ukraine and covered a large pro-Lebanese demonstration (some 2,500 participants) in Kyiv, and smaller pro-Israeli demonstrations in Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk. Scholars at Kyiv's Middle East Institute gave interviews, which analyzed major developments in the war.

* Belarusian Service RFE/RL's Belarusian Service covered the crisis repeatedly during its 16 daily live newscasts and as a top international story, using Central News reports and features, as well as other media sources. A Belarusian Service broadcaster covered the story weekly, in order to provide listeners continuity and depth in the broadcasts. Early in the conflict, the service reported on the evacuation of Belarusian citizens from the Middle East, interviewing embassy officials in Lebanon and Israel as well as passengers arriving at the Minsk airport from Lebanon, Syria and Israel. Several on-the-street interviews were conducted both in the capital and elsewhere in Belarus; and then broadcast and published on the service's website. The coverage generated listener mail and telephone calls, including e-mails from listeners in Israel that were incorporated into programming. In contrast to local media, which were heavily biased against the United States and Israel, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service offered variety and depth of opinion and analysis otherwise unavailable to Belarusians.

* * *

RADIO FREE IRAQ REPORTS ON LIFE IN THE GREEN ZONE... On July 7, Radio Free Iraq (RFI) aired a report on how Iraqis look at the Green Zone and what life is like in this heavily guarded part of Baghdad, which houses foreign embassies, Iraqi politicians, government officials and Coalition forces.
Iraqi citizens interviewed on the street all had similar views. One man said: "All in the Green Zone have their bodyguards. It all belongs to the U.S. Army and the [Iraqi] National Guard. We Iraqis remain here; it is just explosions and no security in the streets. They are provided with electricity and water, provided with everything." Another said: "The Green Zone is protected from all sides. They protect themselves but no one protects us, the Iraqis. A woman observed that "the Green Zone, with all security and comfort that it is provided with, is actually like an area outside Iraq. So I think all Iraqis wish that the whole of Iraq with all of us [living here] turn into such a Green Zone." A third man interviewed shared her view: "Streets are clean there. Electricity and water are available. Everything is available there; even prices are different there than here. All the streets there are clean, and you can feel as if you are not in Iraq. It is like outside Iraq."
Others interviewed by RFI said life in the Green Zone is like a prison: "They cannot go out, and if they do, there are a hundred bodyguards behind them, with alarm devices and I don't know what else. So the fear and horror inside them is bigger than their feeling relaxed. One woman said Iraqis are also scared about the Green Zone attackers who appear to be able to circumvent the heavy security. She said: "It is dangerous. It is a target every hour. It has been hit with rockets and things like that, and even explosions and suicide bombings" (an English report based on the RFI interviews was posted to the RFE/RL website on July 10; it may be read at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/7/D4F024A5-3D93-46EE-AB60-19BD0903962D.html)

...CONSTRUCTION OF NEW PRISONS... On July 7, RFI broadcast an exclusive interview with U.S. Major General William McCoy, director of the Iraq Project and Contracting Office (http://iraq.usembassy.gov/iraq/iraq_pco.html) and chief commander of the Gulf Region Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (http://www.rebuilding-iraq.net/portal/page?_pageid=95,1&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL). McCoy's office is supervising the construction of three prisons in the Diyala and Dhi Qar governorates, respectively, and one in Northern Iraq to house a total of 12,000 inmates. The Iraqi government has criticized the project, now about half completed, for failing to meet the planned prison capacity and for not building accommodation for wardens and their families as agreed. During the interview, McCoy admitted that the inmate capacity of the new Iraqi prisons was underestimated in 2003, when the prisons were originally planned.
The program also included an RFI exclusive interview with Iraqi Justice Ministry comptroller-general Muhammad al-Abbasi, who said: "There is a prison [being built] in Al-Nasiriyah [Dhi Qar governorate] that should have the capacity of 4,500. It also should include complex facilities with a mosque, apartments, housing units, and schools for the wards and their children, like a town of its own. But, regrettably, they have diverged from their obligations on this prison... This prison has been constructed for the capacity of 800 prisoners only, and the construction of some buildings was cancelled, such as the mosque and the playground, as well as other facilities planned in the originally project."

...PLANS FOR OIL REFINERIES... Radio Free Iraq aired a report on August 21 about Iraq's oil production and plans announced by Iraq's oil minister to improve existing refineries and build new ones. Oil Minister Husayn al-Shahristani told an Iraqi parliamentary committee that the country plans to begin exporting oil and oil products within four years. The RFI broadcast was picked up and quoted by MENA, the English language Middle East and North Africa Financial Network.

...KURDS IN IRAQ, TURKEY RFI aired on July 27 an interview with Fu'ad Husayn, advisor to Kurdish autonomous region President Mas'ud Barzani, on the Turkish government's action against Kurds in neighboring Turkey. In the interview, conducted by RFE/RL's Iraq Analyst Kathleen Ridolfo, Husayn said the Turkish build-up of military strength on the border threatens to intervene in Iraqi Kurdistan in Turkey's fight against the Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is serious, saying : "We are not happy about it. We reject the intervention of any foreign troops, especially Turkish troops in Iraqi Kurdistan." But he stressed that Kurds in Iraq want good relations with Turkey and are working to resolve tensions through diplomacy. Husayn also emphasized that Iraqi Kurds "are part of the Iraqi system and should be present at any bilateral talks between Baghdad and Ankara (an English transcript of the interview can be found at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/7/C2C5FA27-919A-4EAA-A4E1-F05445E35FE6.html).

RADIO FREE IRAQ AT IRAQ-JORDAN PRESS CONFERENCE RFI's chief Baghdad correspondent covered a joint press conference of the Jordanian and Iraqi prime ministers in Baghdad on August 16 on economic and security cooperation.
In response to RFI's question about suspected Iraqi insurgents and terrorists finding haven in neighboring Jordan, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said, "If any person, whether or not he is on the list of 41, is proven to be working against the Iraqi people, the Iraqi government or the interests of the one united Iraq, he will certainly not have a place among us in Jordan."
Jordanian Prime Minister Ma'ruf al-Bakhit said that, in addition to security, the talks focused largely on economic and trade issues and Jordan's support for the political process in Iraq, particularly the reconciliation effort. He said that Jordan is ready to host conferences for men of religion, Iraqi tribes, civil society institutions and Iraqi political parties and blocs.

RADIO FREE AFGHANISTAN LOOKS AT WARLORDS... In an August 21 broadcast, Radio Free Afghanistan took an in-depth look at the longstanding feud of northern warlords and a possible attempt by the government to curb the power of the private militias. The program, based on analysis by RFE/RL Afghanistan Regional Analyst Amin Tarzi, noted Interior Minister Zarar Ahmad Moqbel's recent comment that the country has had enough of the political thuggery between rival warlords Abdul Rashid Dostum and General Abdul Malik. A decision by the Afghan Interior Ministry to request the disbandment of the political parties supporting the respective leaders could signal an attempt by the government to curb "warlordism." Officials in Kabul have acknowledged that the government must rein in the warlords to foster democracy (an English-language report can be found at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/0D387947-F5DC-4966-ACFC-93C588B4479D.html).

...OPIUM FARMING... Radio Free Afghanistan on August 22 aired an extensive program on the increase in opium farming, including comment on a forthcoming UN report, which states that cultivation is up 40 percent over 2005 and also mentions the Afghan government's role as host to a counternarcotics conference in Kabul. The broadcast included interviews with an adviser to Afghanistan's Counternarcotics Ministry, Mohammad Mosa Hamid, about the alternative livelihood program, a British spokesman on the problems of controlling poppy cultivation in the volatile province of Helmand and with the top UN official in Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, who said fears of fanning the insurgency are constraining efforts to destroy the poppy crops of poor farmers in the area. NATO-ISAF commander Lt.Gen. David Richards denied rumors that foreign troops were being deployed to destroy the crops and told RFE/RL that bringing security to remote provincial areas is a more immediate priority than poppy eradication (an English-language report can be found at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/8A37C4A2-3E81-492D-A565-A05B26639BD3.html).

...DEATH OF FEMALE PILOT... A Radio Free Afghanistan report on the loss of Afghanistan's only two female pilots was widely quoted in Afghan media and reprinted in its entirety by the English language Afghanistan Times. The report, which aired at the end of July and was posted to RFE/RL's website on August 2 (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/00BB4DB5-7C72-4080-B7A3-3CB86A59D58D.html), told the story of Colonel Lailuma of the Afghan National Army's Air Corps who died from complications during childbirth earlier that month. The only other Afghan female pilot, her mourning sister Latifa, has vowed never to fly again for the unit because she believes a commanding officer's negligence is to blame for her sister's death. RFE/RL contacted the officer, Dawran, but he refused to comment. Lailuma's relatives spoke to RFE/RL Kabul correspondents, saying Lailuma's life could have been saved had she been sent abroad for treatment.

...WOMEN STUDYING MUSIC... A UN and EU-sponsored cultural program in northern Afghanistan is arousing controversy among women and angering conservative Islamic clerics. RFE/RL Central News correspondent Ron Synovitz interviewed several of the 18 young women enrolled in the project at Nagashand Fine Arts Gallery in the city of Mazar -e-Sharif, where they are the first students in an all-women music school. The youngest, 14-year-old Zohra Amiri, said she criticized by her neighbors for attending the classes, but hopes this will subside in time. All the students and their families lived in Iran as refugees until they moved back to Afghanistan two years ago. Women from local families who never left the country during the Taliban years are reluctant to join the music classes and many disapprove, telling RFE/RL it is illegal under Islamic Shari'a law for women to play music (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/BF4A4E2C-0A29-4CA0-84D6-19B4505CA346.html).

...LONE WALKER ACROSS AFGHANISTAN RFE/RL Central News correspondent Heather Maher interviewed Rory Stewart, a 29-year-old Scotsman and former Foreign Service officer who walked 800 miles across Afghanistan from Herat to Kabul and wrote a book about his journey: "The Places in Between." He told RFE/RL, in an interview broadcast August 19, that the book is really about Afghanistan -- its beautiful landscape, dignified people and rich history (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/E16A0FB5-F2BE-48B8-B356-234459F35808.html).

CROATIAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS RFE/RL Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader visited RFE/RL's Prague broadcast center on July 28, where he gave an interview to RFE/RL's South Slavic & Albanian Languages Service (transcript at http://www.danas.org/article/2006/07/28/25c335d9-1c6a-42f4-9fff-f2f58098b238.html; the English transcript of a separate interview with RFE/RL Central News correspondent Heather Maher can be found at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/7/BC37C43D-C4E1-409E-94CC-4C0B3E41BDD1.html). Sanader said he was confident Croatia will eventually join the European Union, in spite of what he called "enlargement fatigue." Sanader also commented on the work of the international war crimes tribunal at The Hague, saying there is no alternative to full cooperation, and urging Serbia to transfer indicted war criminals General Ratko Mladic and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to The Hague.

BELARUS SERVICE COVERS KAZULIN TRIAL RFE/RL's Belarus Service had a reporter in the courtroom for the weeklong trial of former presidential candidate Alyaksandr Kazulin, who was arrested in the protests following the country's March 19 presidential election. The trial started July 6 and ended July 13 with a guilty verdict and a sentence of five and a half years in prison. Kazulin, 50, a Chancellor of Belarusian State University from 1996 to 2003 and the current leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party, was accused of two counts of hooliganism and of disturbing the public peace.
RFE/RL brought updates of the trial and its sometimes tumultuous proceedings several times a day, enhanced with features on relevant legal issues, interviews with the lawyers for both sides, and comments from foreign ambassadors present. A strong focus of the coverage was reaction to the trial -- demonstrations outside the courtroom, and statements by Belarusian opposition leaders, as well as parliamentary deputies. On the international scene, the U.S. Ambassador in Minsk, and representatives of the EU, OSCE, and the governments of Lithuania, Latvia, Germany all issued protest statements.
In a wild ending to the six-day trial, the judge ordered all people out of the courtroom before announcing the ruling, after Kazulin called him a "hangman" and people started chanting "Freedom to Kazulin." Kazulin, along with reporters and diplomats were removed from the room, and only the prosecutor, Kazulin's lawyer and the court secretary were allowed to stay to hear the verdict.
The guest on the July 14 Belarusian service's regular half-hour on-line conference was Kazulin's wife, Iryna.

RUSSIAN SERVICE INTERVIEWS KHODORKOVSKY'S WIFE... The wife of imprisoned Russian business mogul Mikhail Khodorkovsky came to RFE/RL's Moscow bureau to give her first major interview about her life since her husband was sent to a remote Siberian penal colony last year to serve a nine-year sentence for tax evasion and other charges. Inna Khodorkovskaya said in the interview, aired July 30 on Radio Liberty's "Face to Face" talk show, that she and her three children are looking for a new home because Russian authorities have placed a lien on their house. She said that she is considering moving to the Chita region where her husband is serving his sentence but he is against it. Inna Khodorkovskaya also spoke about the hardships of her regular journeys to visit her husband, traveling nine hours by plane, 13 hours by train and one hour by car to get to the colony where she is allowed three days with her husband in a room with listening devices (English transcript at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/7/9DCA18B8-3516-44D1-827F-38829A65B6AB.html; Russian transcript at http://www.svobodanews.ru/Transcript/2006/07/30/20060730150017077.html).
The interview was widely quoted in Russian media, including Ekho Moskvy radio (http://www.echo.msk.ru/news/325393.html) and Russian National Television (http://www.vesti.ru/news.html?id=96934&sid=4).

...ON THE SCENE OF MOSCOW MARKET EXPLOSION... RFE/RL correspondents were on the scene of an explosion at the Cherkizovsky market in Moscow August 21 that killed at least ten people and wounded more than 50 others. Eyewitnesses described the blast for RFE/RL listeners in early reports of the tragedy (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/E6996849-67F5-4FE5-8765-5482271CC587.html). An RFE/RL correspondent reported that many of the victims were Chinese, Vietnamese and other foreign nationals. On August 22, RFE/RL's Russian Service broadcast the Moscow chief prosecutor's statement that two students had been arrested, who admitted they committed the crime for racist reasons.

...RUSSIAN PLANE CRASH... RFE/RL's Russian Service reported on August 22 that a Tupolev-154 passenger plane had crashed in bad weather near the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Both the Russian and Ukrainian services worked together to bring the latest information available on the rescue efforts, statements of both Russian and Ukrainian officials, as well as Pulkovo airlines, and interviews with family members. Developments were covered by Russian Service correspondents in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kyiv, as well as Ukrainian Service correspondents in Kyiv and Donetsk. The plane was en route from the southern Russian resort of Anapa to St. Petersburg. All 170 passengers on board died in the crash (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/48ED7765-4316-43F5-916B-40F8C85B63F9.html).

RUSSIAN SERVICE COVERS G8 SUMMIT IN ST. PETERSBURG... Two weeks before the G8 summit in St. Petersburg on July 15-17, RFE/RL's Russian Service began broadcasting special daily programs on summit issues, protests and gatherings on the fringes of the meeting of the industrialized countries. On July 3rd, the service aired reports on the "Faith Summit" in Moscow, attended by 200 religious leaders from 40 countries, and the "Civil Eight 2006" conference of some 700 representatives of Russian and foreign non-governmental organizations. The July 9 program "Face to Face" featured Feodor Lukjanov, editor of the "Russia in Global Politics" magazine, and Lilia Shevtsova of the Moscow Carnegie Center who spoke about the participants and purpose of the G8 group and what hosting the summit means for Russia (http://www.svobodanews.ru/Transcript/2006/07/09/20060709150058373.html). On July 10-11, the service's "Time of Liberty" program broadcast reports on "The Other Russia" conference of opposition groups and civic organizations in Moscow, including former chess champion Garry Kasparov and former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. RFE/RL informed listeners that some activists had been detained, beaten and had their homes searched (http://www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/07/11/20060711194656797.html; http://www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/07/12/20060712090626037.html). On July 13, RFE/RL reported on comments President George Bush plans to make during a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin, on concerns about freedom in Russia and will tell him that non- governmental organizations should be allowed to function without intimidation.

...COVERS ACTIVISTS' MEETING WITH PRESIDENT BUSH... President Bush met with Russian human rights activists on July 14 in St. Petersburg, who immediately after the meeting gave exclusive interviews to RFE/RL. Tatiana Lokshina, leader of the "Demos" Foundation, praised the meeting and said the activists had a good discussion with Bush (http://www.svobodanews.ru/Transcript/2006/07/14/20060714213901817.html). Irina Yasina, head of the "Open Russia" group and Maria Gaidar, leader of the 'DA' democratic organization said they had talked about the fate of imprisoned Yukos lawyer Svetlana Bakhmin and former head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is serving a nine-year sentence in a Siberian penal colony (http://www.svobodanews.ru/Transcript/2006/07/14/20060714200035970.html; http://www.svobodanews.ru/Transcript/2006/07/14/20060714185458787.html) .

...AIRS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS ON RUSSIAN DEMOCRATIZATION... On July 14, the Russian Service aired an exclusive interview with U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), one of the signers of a request to President Bush that he should raise concerns with President Putin that democratic development in Russia has regressed (http://www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/07/14/20060714142324760.html). An RFE/RL interview with Freedom House director Jennifer Windsor that aired on July 16 focused on the interpretation of a democratic society as articulated by Putin and the absence of basic democratic institutes in Russia (http://www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/07/16/20060716201731700.html). Yabloko Party chief Grigoriy Yavlinsky summed up, in a July 16 interview, the results of the G8 summit and said that in return for Russian cooperation on international crises, "Western countries are willing to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Russia" (http://www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/07/16/20060716203630270.html).

...ASKS WHERE WERE THE ANTIGLOBALISTS? Russian authorities succeeded in preventing major street action by antiglobalists, allowing them only to hold a "Social Forum" in Kirov Stadium on the edge of St. Petersburg. In an interview to RFE/RL's Russian Service, aired on July 17, Boris Kagarlitsky, Director of the Institute of Globalization Problems and member of the Social Forum Committee analyzed the movement and the reasons its plans in St. Petersburg failed to materialize (http://www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/07/17/20060717094104013.html).

RUSSIAN SERVICE ASKS WHAT HAPPENS AFTER BASAYEV? Chechen military commander Shamil Basayev was killed July 10 in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia. Russian authorities declared that the death of Basayev was the result of an operation by the Federal Security Service (FSB), but another version says Basayev was traveling with a truck of explosives and died by accident when it exploded. RFE/RL's Russian Service looked at the available evidence, first reactions to his death and chronicled the list of terrorist attacks for which Basayev was responsible.
The evening Time of Liberty program on August 10 discussed the impact of Basayev's death on the Chechen separatist movement and Russia's military operation in the region (transcript at http://www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/07/11/20060711095404967.html). Prague-based correspondent for the Russian Service, Andrei Babitsky, who met Basayev and has reported on the wars in Chechnya for more than a decade, contributed his analysis during a special program on July11 (transcript at http://www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/07/11/20060711113646343.html). The Russian Service also spoke on July 10 with military analyst Aleksandr Golts in Moscow about a possible successor to Basayev. Golts said Basayev's death will weaken the Chechen resistance but will also make it harder for Russian authorities to defeat as the movement will be decentralized.

NORTH CAUCASUS SERVICE GETS ZAKAYEV REACTION TO BASAYEV'S DEATH RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service contacted Akhmed Zakayev, the London- based foreign minister for the Chechen resistance, for his reaction to the news of Basayev's death. Zakayev told RFE/RL that "any changes will only be in terms of personalities," and that "the Chechen people are the ones who are upholding the idea of Chechen independence... the core of these ideas is the Chechen people" (English transcript at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/7/1D173EFD-6C69-4991-9084-7DB1FF71953C.html)

NORTH CAUCASUS, RUSSIAN SERVICES AIR GORBACHEV INTERVIEW ON COUP RFE/RL's North Caucasus and Russian Services aired an exclusive interview with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on August 18, the eve of the 15th anniversary of the failed coup that triggered the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev spoke to RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service about the August 1991 events and their legacy, commenting also on Russian President Vladimir Putin's comment in 2005 that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century." Gorbachev said he agreed with Putin, adding: "Things certainly needed to change, but we did not need to destroy that which had been built by previous generations." In the interview, he said bad economic policies in the 1990s "reduced millions of people to poverty" and that they "naturally looked back to the Soviet Union and the social guarantees that it offered." Gorbachev said the economic situation is improving under Putin but that "50 percent of our people still live in poverty." He also said most Russians disagree with the western perception that democracy is being suppressed and freedom of the press stifled: "When Putin first came to power, I think his first priority was keeping the country from falling apart, and this required certain measures that wouldn't exactly be referred to as textbook democracy. Yes, there are certain worrying tendencies. We still have certain stipulations and restrictions that cannot be explained by real dangers, or by the realities of life in Russia. However, I would not dramatize the situation. In the past 20 years, Russia has changed to such an extent that going back is now impossible" (an English transcript of the interview can be read at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/08/B3D3EE34-9EFC-41DF-B0E3-CA108F7581C8.html).

GEORGIAN SERVICE AIRS LUGAR COMMENTS ON ABKHAZIA, SOUTH OSSETIA... Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) led a congressional delegation on a visit to Georgia August 22-24, mainly to review energy issues. RFE/RL's Georgian Service provided broad coverage of the visit, starting with a report aired August 22 on the purpose and agenda of the trip (http://www.tavisupleba.org/special/politics/2006/08/20060822185135.asp).
In Tbilisi, Senator Lugar had talks with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli, other government officials and Georgian members of parliament. A Tbilisi-based RFE/RL correspondent was at Lugar's meeting with the press after the talks and aired his headline-grabbing comments about Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Lugar said the United States supports the Georgian people's decision that Russian peacekeepers should leave the two separatist territories. During his stay, Lugar also toured a weapons factory and biological facility operated under the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CRT) Program, also known as the Nunn-Lugar Act, which provides U.S. funding and expertise to help Georgia and other nations safeguard and dismantle nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, related materials, and delivery systems. On August 23, RFE/RL broadcast a report on Lugar's visit to the ammunition base in Dedoplistskaro for aviation and artillery ammunition, and a Disease Control Centre in Tbilisi, also funded under the CRT program (http://www.tavisupleba.org/special/health/2006/08/20060823163834.asp).
In an August 25 program summarizing the U.S. congressional visit, the Georgian Service broadcast angry reaction from Abkhazia's separatist foreign minister, and exclusive interviews with Georgia's deputy foreign minister and two Georgian policy experts, who said it was important for Georgia to hear from such an authoritative U.S. policy source (http://www.tavisupleba.org/special/politics/2006/08/20060825075607.asp).

...QUESTIONS TO MCCAIN ON RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS A U.S. Senate Delegation, including Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Richard Burr (R-NC) and John Sununu (R-NH) visited Georgia from August 26-29, to meet with top Georgian officials and investigate Georgia's separatist regions, including a visit to South Ossetia and meeting there with separatist leader Eduard Kokoity (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/EAC1F5C4-32D1-4E62-94C4-9332AFCC4DF9.html). After a meeting with President Saakashvili on the final day of the trip, Senator McCain gave a press conference, during which he responded to a question from a Georgian Service correspondent by calling for Russian forces currently carrying out peacekeeping duties in parts of Georgia to be replaced with an international force: "It is time to evaluate whether the Russian peacekeepers are carrying out their mission in an objective fashion, and I believe serious consideration should be given to a new force, either from the [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] or the UN, which can do a job that is more credible than the present Russian peacekeeping force" (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/685996F9-DB60-485B-8159-9728097E9400.html).

UKRAINE SERVICE TALKS TO FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR... RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service focused in July and August on the final stretch of protracted negotiations to form a new government after the March 26 parliamentary elections and the policies it will set. An exclusive interview with former US Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer aired July 27, in which Pifer, now senior adviser at the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that should Viktor Yanukovych become prime minister, it will be the result of a democratic process and the U.S. will be prepared to work with him: "The U.S. government does not have an instinctive bias against working with Mr. Yanukovych," Pifer said. The interview was widely quoted by Ukrainian electronic and TV media and was also distributed as a publication by CSIS in its August Monthly Update (an English transcript of the interview can be found on the RFE/RL website at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/7/6139CD86-890D-4F4F-BFD4-11478CFAF5A8.html).

...UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER... In an August 8 interview with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk, a long time supporter of Ukrainian membership in NATO and the EU, told the Ukrainian Service that the new government will continue policies in accord with a national unity document proposed by President Viktor Yushchenko. He said this will remain a cornerstone for Ukrainian policymaking for many years to come and that the integration of Ukraine into European and transatlantic structures will continue as outlined by Yushchenko. Tarasiuk also emphasized that relations with Russia remain a priority. The telephone interview, taped on August 5, was posted on the Ukrainian Service's website the same day and picked up by several media sites, including "Ukrayinska Pravda" and "Korrespondent" (http://www.radiosvoboda.org//article/2006/08/20277d45-a077-4ae0-a375-f6f4d6390dc1.html).

...MP YEVHEN KUSHNARIOV... Yevhen Kushnariov, a leader of the Party of Regions and former governor of Kharkiv province was a guest in the RFE/RL Kyiv bureau's studio August 7, appearing on the Evening Liberty talk show to discuss the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO. Although new Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said Ukraine's membership in NATO will be decided "by the president, parliament and government," Kushnariov called for a national referendum to decide the issue (http://www.radiosvoboda.org//article/2006/08/1adce9f1-fb34-49f6-8a9f-0f125f27e9d0.html).

...FORMER PM YULIA TYMOSHENKO... Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the main opposition block in the Ukrainian parliament was the featured guest on "Sounds of Life," a RFE/RL program that aired on Nashe Radio on August 5. She said there was a potential for conflict among the powerful players in her "Our Ukraine" bloc and the Party of the Regions over the shadow economy, emphasizing that the parliamentary opposition would check every step of the new government and make public anything improper committed by majority parliamentarians and government officials. Tymoshenko also alleged that criminal investigations had been launched against two members of her bloc, a claim which was refuted later in the week by the Ukrainian Prosecutor's office. The interview was widely quoted on TV Channel 5, 1+1 and other broadcasters, as well as on Ukrainian Internet sites (http://www.radiosvoboda.org//article/2006/08/f8ad5025-fe46-428e-be2c-03afdab3f7a7.html).

...ANALYST ROBERT LEGVOLD... Columbia University political science professor Robert Legvold spoke with RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service about the four-month political deadlock in Ukraine, in an exclusive interview on July 28. Legvold said recent constitutional changes gave new power to the Ukrainian Parliament, creating a situation where lawmakers are fighting over power, not policy. He said that "in a well-functioning political system, political differences and political contests are about political alternatives and policy alternatives and that is not what is happening in Ukraine" (http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/07/FB14DE87-5D75-4E4C-8D48-46BA42242E6A.html).

...POLITICIAN BORIS KOLESNIKOV Boris Kolesnikov, Head of the Donetsk Region branch of the Party of Regions, gave an exclusive interview to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service July 24 in which he called for more decentralization of government, urging that power devolve to the regions. Kolesnikov said the Party of Regions planned to complete constitutional reform and pass a bill in parliament which would expand local government. The interview was quoted the next day by Ukraine's Unian news agency and received wide publicity.

TURKMEN SERVICE AIRS PROTEST OVER IMPRISONED CORRESPONDENT RFE/RL's Turkmen Service has been following the plight of its imprisoned Ashgabat correspondent, Ogulsapar Muradova, who was taken from her home by police June 18, held incommunicado for more than two months, put on trial August 25 and sentenced to six years in prison with two co-defendants who each received a seven-year sentence (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/7AA2EBAE-36AD-4993-A639-AF9505A93C0F.html). RFE/RL publicized regular updates and reports on Muradova's situation and the widespread international protest against her detention by human rights groups in Washington, New York, Paris and London, as well as Russia, Thailand and other countries in Asia. Turkmen media maintained a media blackout on Muradova, leaving RFE/RL's Turkmen Service as Turkmens' main source of information on her case.
On August 28, the service broadcast an exclusive interview with OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Press and Media, Miklos Harazsti, who criticized the prison sentences and raised questions about the lack of transparency and adequate defense in Muradova's trial. He said the OSCE has followed the case of Muradova and the others since their detention and is talking to Turkmen authorities about it. He said they acknowledged the three had been arrested because of journalistic activity that the Turkmen government viewed as damaging to the state and aiding a foreign power. Harazsti told RFE/RL the verdict was unexpected and that he hopes for a positive outcome of the appeal process in which Turkmen authorities have a chance to exercise oversight (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/8/D9D6A4B2-23A8-4B89-AD50-B853B6E45999.html).

KYRGYZ SERVICE FIRST ON DECISION TO RETURN UZBEK REFUGEES... RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service was the first to broadcast an investigative report on the Kyrgyz government's decision to extradite five Uzbek refugees to Uzbekistan. Kyrgyz Service aired several exclusive interviews and reports, including an interview with Tursunbek Akun, head of the Kyrgyz Human Rights Commission, who strongly condemned the Kyrgyz prosecutor general's decision. Akun said in the RFE/RL interview that "[The Kyrgyz prosecutor-general] brought shame on us, on Kyrgyzstan, in the international community's eyes. He did not respect international conventions, international norms. Prosecutor-General [Kambaraly] Kongantiev simply sought ways to please Uzbekistan. That is why we are issuing a statement that condemns a personal action, an officeholder's action, [the action of] Mr. Kongantiev" (http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/human_rights/ky/2006/08/82C58036-E99F-4DCE-B69C-3E8F5103E1A1.asp; http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/human_rights/ky/2006/08/D3F22B64-A831-4D5B-B6BB-FB87B71D8942.asp; http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/human_rights/ky/2006/08/EAB34DDA-B386-4250-B588-39326E1A3BE5.asp).

...PROVIDES EXTENSIVE COVERAGE OF BOUCHER VISIT All events and statements related to the visit to Bishkek of Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher on August 10-11 were covered by RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service. A Radio Azattyk correspondent was one of five local journalists who met with Boucher to ask about his talks with the Kyrgyz government. RFE/RL also broadcast several exclusive, live interviews with leading Kyrgyz politicians, commenting on U.S.-Kyrgyz relations. They included former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva, former state secretary Ishenbay Abdyrazakov, deputy chancellor of the Kyrgyz-American University (AUCA) Bakyt Beshimov and others (http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/politics/ky/2006/08/0C7EA9D0-9F97-463F-828C-F15ACE13CE62.asp; http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/politics/ky/2006/08/019E8D39-CBF5-4B3B-A14D-DDD93893F185.asp; http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/politics/ky/2006/08/6B7FDC25-59E1-46ED-A4C4-530B5E75640F.asp; http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/politics/ky/2006/08/438344EA-03EC-4CC8-A7F8-3F8214F1E547.asp; http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/politics/ky/2006/08/69AEB2CC-6004-4A2C-A86E-8796DCA4C6F5.asp)

KYRGYZ SERVICE REPORTS ON UIGHUR PROTEST A RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service correspondent was harassed while trying to cover a July 5 picket in support of ethnic Uighur political prisoners by members of Kyrgyzstan's Uighur diaspora in front of the Chinese Embassy on Bishkek. More than 30 participants chanted slogans demanding freedom for Husein Jelil, an imprisoned ethnic Uighur from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in the Chinese Western province of China who is a Canadian citizen. Jelil was detained in Tashkent in March and deported to China by Uzbek authorities in June. The protesters also demanded other Uighur in Chinese jails be set free, including three sons of NGO leader in exile Rabiya Qadir. RFE/RL's Bishkek correspondent recorded the protesters chanting "Free Husein Jelil! Liberty for Uighurs! Long Live Democracy! Long Live Freedom!" and took photographs that were posted on RFE/RL's Internet site (http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/human_rights/ky/2006/07/241F198A-EB17-43DC-A649-7FF175387DC3.ASP).

...INTERVIEWS KYRGYZ FOREIGN MINISTER Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov gave an exclusive interview on August 29 to RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, in which he rejected criticism by human rights groups of the Kyrgyz government's handling of Uzbek refugees and its close collaboration with Uzbek security. Jekshenkulov said Kyrgyzstan is in no position to fight terrorism alone and must enlist the support of its neighbors. He said: "If there is cooperation between the security services of [Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan] on security issues, is it something bad? Not only Kyrgyzstan, but even the world's leading states are unable to fight terrorism alone. That's why he have to cooperate with the whole international community [in general], and with our neighbors [in particular] on those issues" (http://www.azattyk.org/rubrics/politics/ky/2006/08/20068FEB-01CF-434D-9984-23B926600B28.ASP; an English transcript of the interview can be found at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/08/0777488a-b78c-494d-9d52-745dbac52e9d.html).

KAZAKH SERVICE BREAKS STORY ON ILLEGAL ARMS DELIVERIES RFE/RL's Kazakh Service broke the news in late July of Kazakh involvement in illegal arms deliveries to Somalia. The story made headlines in local media, leading the Kazakh foreign ministry to give a press conference August 7, denying knowledge of the arms deliveries and citing RFE/RL's Kazakh Service as a major source for the story. RFE/RL reported the denial, as well as statements by government officials in Somalia, claiming that two Ilyushin-76 cargo planes with Kazakh identification had landed at Mogadishu from Eritrea, loaded with weapons.
Because of the Kazakh government's information blackout on the issue, several local media turned to RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, including the popular Kazakh Russian language weekly "Novoye Pokoleniye" (New Generation). Prague-based Kazakh Service broadcaster Erzhan Karabekov wrote an exclusive report for the weekly which was published on the front page of the August 4 Novoye Pokoleniye, and also posted on NP's website (http://www.np.kz/2006/31/index31.html).

KAZAKH SERVICE IS INFORMATION SOURCE ON POLITICAL MURDER TRIAL RFE/RL's Kazakh Service has served as a leading information source on the lengthy trial of former Kazakh officials involved in the murder of Kazakh opposition politician Altynbek Sarsenbayev. RFE/RL correspondents have been in the courtroom and followed the trial since it began June 14 in the remote town of Taldy-Qorgan, some 200 kilometers north of Almaty. It ended August 31 with guilty verdicts against all ten defendants and the death sentence for two of those convicted. The trial proceedings, however, left many questions unanswered. Sarsenbayev's family boycotted the trial and called it a farce. The defendants claimed they were taking the blame for high ranking officials and the real culprits have not been called to account.

TAJIK SERVICE MARKS DEATH OF POLITICAL LEADER RFE/RL's Tajik Service gave extensive coverage August 9-13 to the death of Said Abdullo Nuri, the influential leader of the country's main opposition political movement, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. Within minutes of the announcement, the news was on the air and on the service's webpage with a live interview with the mayor of Dushanbe and other politicians, including Haji Akbar Tourajonzoda, a powerful rival and later ally of Nuri during the years of war and peace.
Nuri was head of the United Tajik Opposition during the years of civil war 1992-1997 and the head of the National Reconciliation Commission during the years of peace-building 1997-2000. Nevertheless, official media, TV and Radio Tajikistan, barely mentioned the news. The official paper, Tajikistan, announced Nuri's death in two lines.
A Tajik Service correspondent reported live on the funeral August 11 and massive attendance by people who had traveled from all parts of the country. August 12, the service aired a roundtable discussion in its Dushanbe studio, analyzing the consequences of Nuri's death on the upcoming presidential elections of November 2006 (http://www.ozodi.org/reportsarticle/2006/8/E05845A6-CEB5-41AF-BF0A-E97CA1C3AFC0.html).
August 13, RFE/RL brought news of Nuri's replacement as party leader and an interview with the party spokesperson. In the evening program, there was an exclusive interview with the new leader, Mohiedin Kabiri, with further analysis of his policy. The Tajik Service web page was frequently updated with developments and photos (http://www.ozodi.org/reportsarticle/2006/8/B0D5DBE9-7F98-422E-8BDB-0BCB16E57132.html), earning notes of praise and thanks from listeners and web users (http://www.ozodi.org/forumarticle/2006/8/260DEA9B-2C40-49F1-81D8-D3E24E0CACD1.html).

UZBEK SERVICE REPORTS TRIAL OF MUSICIAN RFE/RL's Uzbek Service has reported a series of trials in July and August of people charged with offences related to the May 2005 events in Andijon, including dissident Uzbek singer and poet Dadakhon Hasan. The 66-year-old musician is charged with defamation of the Uzbek president and undermining the constitution, but human rights activists believe the reason for his arrest was a song he wrote about Andijon. The lyrics include the words: "Don't say you haven't seen how Andijon was drowned in blood... The victims fell like mulberries, the children's bloodied bodies were like tulips." Hasan's composition has become the theme song for the Uzbek Service, played for every broadcast about Andijon.

NEW UZBEK PROGRAM GIVES VOICE TO WOMEN A new program on RFE/RL' Uzbek Service was launched July 16 about the life stories and daily burdens of Uzbek women. Called "Time in My Destiny," the ten-minute show airs every other Sunday, giving voice to women inside Uzbekistan, as well as refugees and exiles. The first program gave a profile of Mahbuba Kasimova, a human rights activist, campaigning for prisoners' rights, one of the few who have not fled the country. The July 30 program was dedicated to Darmonjon Sultonova, whose husband and two sons were executed in 1999 on charges of religious extremism. The program is produced in Prague by Uzbek Service broadcaster Shukhrat Babajanov who says he is being flooded with letters from listeners and offers of stories for future broadcasts.

CENTRAL ASIAN SERVICES COORDINATE REPORT ON HIZB-UT-TAHRIR RFE/RL's Central Asian services worked with the English-language Central News department on an August 9 report about the youth appeal of the radical Islamic Hizb-ut-Tahrir group. Although banned in most countries, the number of young people joining the movement is believed to be increasing. In Uzbekistan, of 29 alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir members on trial, the youngest one was 19 years old and all the defendants were under the age of 30. Aalybek Akunov, professor of political studies at Kyrgyz National University told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that poverty and high unemployment encourage young people to join in the areas around the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border: "The economic future is precarious. There is despair and exhaustion. They are tired of waiting for changes in government policy on both sides (of the border)." Vitaly Ponomaryov, head of the Moscow-based Memorial group that monitors human rights in Central Asia said in an RFE/RL interview that in addition to poverty, political repression is a major factor in the attraction of young people to this banned organization and he warned against a growing militarization of young people: "when people see clear injustice, they start perceiving repressed people as victims of the fight for justice. . . some of them start saying, 'if justice can't be achieved by peaceful means, more radical ways should be found.' In this regard, Uzbekistan is a highly illustrative example. There, repression begun by [President] Karimov in late 1990s became the main instrument of destabilization in the whole region."


RFE/RL in the News

RFE/RL WRITERS PUBLISHED IN SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE RFE/RL North Caucasus Service Director, Aslan Doukaev, and Chief Editor of RFE/RL Newsline, Liz Fuller, wrote an editorial that was published in the July 11 issue of "The San Francisco Chronicle". The editorial, entitled "Don't Give Putin Energy 'Weapon'", focused on Russia's qualifications to chair the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg and its special status as a major energy exporter. The piece concluded that, "A government that cuts off gas supplies to Europe in midwinter, that condones massive bloodletting on the grounds of 'security,' as Russia has been doing in Chechnya for the past seven years, and that supports despotic, anti-Western regimes on its periphery (witness Russia's warm relations with Belarus and Uzbekistan) cannot be expected to stop using its energy exports as a weapon to increase its political clout" (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/07/11/EDGKFJSPPC1.DTL&type=printable).

PAKISTAN AWARD FOR RFE/RL AFGHAN BROADCASTER Dr. Farida Hod Saifi, a Prague-based broadcaster for RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan has won an award in Pakistan for "Best Radio Broadcaster of the Year in the Pashto Language." Saifi's work was recognized by the 2006 International Pashto Conference on Language and Literature. Held in the Pakistani province of Balochistan, the conference was attended by hundreds of Pashto-speaking writers and poets from both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Saifi recently inaugurated a new one-hour weekly health program on Radio Free Afghanistan, in which listeners call in questions and get answers from health experts featured on the show.

HIGH UKRAINIAN HONOR FOR RFE/RL BELGRADE CORRESPONDENT Michal Ramac, Belgrade correspondent for RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, was awarded the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, Fifth Grade award on August 18, in recognition of his "significant personal contribution to the strengthening of Ukraine's international reputation and for the popularization of historic and modern achievements of the Ukrainian nation and for the active participation in the life of the Ukrainian community abroad." Ramac, a contributor to RFE/RL's Ukrainian language broadcasts for more than ten years, is also editor of the Serbian "Danas" newspaper and active in the Ukrainian diaspora in Serbia. The Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise is awarded at the Ukrainian president's discretion; previous recipients include Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga (2006) and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (2002).

RFE/RL AZERBAIJANI BROADCASTER BEST IN NATION ON CULTURE A Baku-based correspondent for RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Sevda Ismailli, has been recognized by the Azerbaijan Journalists' Union (AJU) as the "Best Azerbaijani Journalist of 2006 Reporting on Culture." The award was announced on July 21, at the annual AJU ceremony that precedes Azerbaijani Journalists Day. Azerbaijani journalists were also recognized for excellence in reporting in such categories as politics, social issues and economics. Ismailli, who has worked for RFE/RL for more than two years, was honored for her weekly "Iz" (Roots) program -- a half-hour show on cultural events and personalities that airs every Sunday (http://www.azadliq.org/Article/2006/07/21/20060721182139577.html).

RFE/RL CORRESPONDENT ON AL-HURRA TELEVISION Laith Ahmad, Baghdad correspondent for RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI), was a guest on Al-Hurra Television August 22 in a show, featuring eight Iraqi journalists, divided into two teams. The teams represented two "generations" of Iraqi radio journalists discussing different values and approaches to radio journalism reflected in language, broadcasting style, news quality, choice of music, reports from the field and other elements. The participants also debated the merits of various media in maintaining balance, independence, tolerance and other aspects of journalism ethics. In describing the station, Laith said that RFI is an independent radio station that brings its listeners news and analysis, does not advocate a particular agenda, does not take an editorial position and is careful to represent a multiplicity of views, treating each with respect.

RADIO FREE IRAQ PRAISED ON IRAQ'S 70TH RADIO ANNIVERSARY An article about Radio Free Iraq was the main feature article of a commemoration of 70 years of radio broadcasting in Iraq, published in the July 1 edition of one of the largest dailies in Iraq, the Iraqi Media Network-published "Al-Sabah". Headlined "Radios!" by Adil al- Amil, the article said that before the fall of Saddam, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq was a window in the life of Iraqis opposed to dictatorship, reviving for exiles the culture and country they had lost. Today, the article said, Radio Free Iraq is no longer the solitary voice it once was: "there are now plenty of local radios... however they follow different goals: sectarian, partisan and private." Al-Sabah said there is an irrefutable distinction between "the patriotic radio that broadcasts from outside the country, doing its best to address all Iraqis who search for free and true words... and those 'patriotic' radios that broadcast from inside the country, doing their best to address members of a particular sect or supporters of a political party, isolating them from other parts of the nation, and also from the global movement toward democracy, freedom and prosperity" (http://www.alsabaah.com/paper.php?source=akbar&mlf=interpage&sid=25822).

RFE/RL ANALYSTS ON CNN, CTV CANADIAN TELEVISION... RFE/RL Iran analyst Bill Samii was interviewed August 22 on CNN International about Iran's reply to the UN Security Council resolution urging a halt to its nuclear enrichment program. On August 17, Samii gave an extensive interview to Canadian Television about the Lebanese relationship with Hezbollah and public reaction in the Middle East to the cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah; on July 13 Samii was interviewed on the ties between Hezbollah and Iran and Iran's role in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict.
Also on August 17, RFE/RL's Iraq analyst Kathleen Ridolfo appeared on a CTV evening program, where she talked about the deteriorating situation in Iraq and the potential for civil war there. One week earlier, on August 10, RFE/RL Afghanistan analyst Amin Tarzi was interviewed on CTV about Pakistan's involvement in the Heathrow Airport terror plot that was foiled by the British.
Russia expert and RFE/RL Communications Division Director Don Jensen participated in a CTV panel discussion on July 10 about the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg and the status of the media in Russia.

...C-SPAN TELEVISION... C-SPAN televised two RFE/RL briefings in Washington, featuring RFE/RL's Iraq and Afghanistan regional analysts. "First Baghdad, Now Kirkuk?", a briefing on mounting tensions in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk featured Kathleen Ridolfo, RFE/RL Iraq Regional Analyst, and Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group (rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/iraq/iraq081506_radio.rm). C-SPAN also filmed an August 9 briefing, entitled "The Insurgency in Afghanistan: Homegrown or Imported?" with RFE/RL Regional Analyst Amin Tarzi and Marvin Weinbaum of the Middle East Institute (rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/ter/ter080906_afghanistan.rm). C-SPAN rebroadcast both events several times.

...QUOTED IN "THE WASHINGTON POST"... RFE/RL Iran analyst Bill Samii was cited extensively in the July 5 edition of "The Washington Post," in an article by Karl Vick headlined "Ayatollah's Moves Hint Iran Wants to Engage." Samii was quoted as saying the Iranian president's confrontational rhetoric reflects the views of fellow veterans of the eight-year war with Iraq, when Iran was bitterly disappointed to find itself fighting alone, and that "Ahmadinejad and his cohorts play up the sort of appeal to the Third World and the Non-Aligned Movement on the nuclear issue, and of course their background and their experience in the war with Iraq teaches them you want to be as self-sufficient as possible." The article continued with Samii noting that, "The leadership and people in responsibility know you can't go it alone," and that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants to find a way for Iran to be part of international politics and the global economy, without being seen as having given in to Western pressure (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/04/AR2006070400750.html).

...FILMED BY REUTERS TV, ABC-TV, TV2 NORWAY; HEARD ON WAMU, IRISH RADIO Reuters Television shot a segment on Radio Farda July 12, as part of a program on U.S. public diplomacy. The Reuters TV crew visited Radio Farda offices in Springfield and Washington and filmed the Radio Farda 3:30 newscast, as well as an interview with RF broadcaster Behruz Nikzat about Radio Farda's impact on Iran.
Radio Farda was also in the camera lens of film crews from TV2- Norway, who came to the Radio Farda news bureau in Washington on June 21, and from U.S. broadcaster ABC, who visited the Springfield office on June 29. On July 7, ABC aired a 2 minute-long piece on Radio Farda as part of its daily "World News Tonight Webcast"; in the opening to the piece the anchor mentions the loss of affiliates in Russia by RFE/RL and VOA (http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=2165314).
On July 17, Radio Free Afghanistan Kabul bureau chief Amin Mohammad Mudaqiq appeared on the popular "Kojo Nnamdi Show" on Washington, DC public radio station WAMU-FM to talk about the resurgence of the Taliban and suicide bombings in Afghanistan (http://www.wamu.org/audio/kn/06/07/k2060717-11101.ram).
RFE/RL Ukrainian Service Deputy Director Irena Chalupa gave a 5- minute interview to Irish Radio's News Talk 106 on August 23, about the joint Russian-Ukrainian investigation into the Russian TU-154 passenger plane crash near Donetsk the previous day that resulted in the loss of all 170 people on board, many of them children returning from vacation (http://www.newstalk106.ie/).


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