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RFE/RL Review November 30, 2006

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The Best of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Reporting
November 1-30, 2006

RUSSIAN SERVICE BRINGS FIRST REPORTS, REACTION TO LITVINENKO DEATH RFE/RL's Russian Service ran daily updates on developments in the illness and death of former Russian spy Aleksandr Litvinenko, as well as analytical discussions of the case and its political ramifications. Russian Service correspondents in Berlin, Amsterdam and London, as well as Prague and Moscow, contributed to the coverage, which was shared with RFE/RL's Central Newsroom and colleagues in other services.
Many RFE/RL language broadcasts followed the story in their broadcasts and shared information and audio actualities -- including the last known interview with Litvinenko on November 16, just before he entered intensive care. During the interview, conducted by RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, Litvinenko said, "In 1998, when Putin became FSB director, I was one of the first in Russia to speak out against the man. Ever since there have been numerous attempts to silence me... I've said it before, I say it now, and I will say it again: there is only one organization interested in shutting me up--the Russian Secret Service."
Russian Service programming highlights include: * Litvinenko's friend Aleksandr Goldfarb spoke to the Russian Service's London correspondent about Litvinenko's worsening condition. The interview aired November 23, just hours before Litvinenko's death ( * Independent Russian Duma member Vladimir Ryzhkov, in a November 24 interview, called Litvinenko's death "political murder" and said all signs point to Russian "special services" as the culprit ( * Akhmed Zakayev, London-based foreign minister in Chechnya's separatist government and close friend of Litvinenko, told RFE/RL in an exclusive interview November 24 about his daily visits to the hospital and his conviction that Russia ordered the killing. ( * In an exclusive interview November 24 with Russian businessman Yuly Dubov, a longtime partner of Boris Berezovsky, Dubov spoke about his conversations with Litvinenko and lax Russian legislation regulating the "special services" ( * A London correspondent for the Russian Service reported live November 25 on official reaction and latest findings on the substance that poisoned Litvinenko and caused his death two days earlier ( * An exclusive interview in London with filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov aired November 28. Nekrasov was at the dying Litvinenko's bedside and told RFE/RL about Litvinenko's last words, accusing Russian president Putin ( * Vladimir Lutsenko, a retired KGB colonel who headed the KGB's (later the FSB's) anti-terrorist unit, gave an exclusive interview to the Russian Service November 30, discussing the polonium-210 isotope and the difficulties of obtaining it and transporting it (
RFE/RL Central News correspondents in London, Moscow and Prague followed daily developments in the Litvinenko investigation, focusing on the radiation trail and international reaction. Central Newsroom stories the last week of November looked at the findings of radioactive traces on airlines and the implications for airline security and public health (, while in London, an RFE/RL correspondent also spoke with members of the city's large Russian community and found a gamut of opinion, ranging from indifference to concern.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Maria Klein, may be reached by email at <>. The Russian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Russia can be found at; the Director of RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, Aslan Doukaev, may be reached by email at <>. English-language news about events in the North Caucasus region can be found at; the Executive Producer of RFE/RL's Central Newsroom, Deborah Seward, may be reached by email at <>; RFE/RL English-language news reports can be found at

BUSY PERIOD FOR RFE/RL'S CENTRAL NEWSROOM November was one of the busiest months for RFE/RL's English-language Central Newsroom, starting with the international impact of the U.S. mid-term elections, continuing with major international events such as the NATO and CIS summits, President Bush's trip to the Middle East, the Pope's visit to Turkey, the poisoning of a former Russian spy, tensions between Georgia and Russia, a sharply deteriorating media environment in Azerbaijan and several bilateral summit meetings in RFE/RL's broadcast region. The Central Newsroom sent correspondents on assignment to cover some of these key events and was a major programming source for language broadcasting to RFE/RL's region.

* International Impact of U.S. Midterm Elections... Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's English language Central Newsroom doubled overnight staffing in the Washington bureau and at the Prague broadcast operations center the evening of November 7-8 to provide hourly updates on election results and early analysis of what they would mean for U.S. foreign policy.
A special series of articles on the elections was issued a week earlier, to assist broadcasters to Russia, Armenia, Iran and others airing special 10-15 minute daily segments to inform listeners of the mechanism and workings of a democratic election. Topics of the Central News package included "Iraq is a Major Issue for Voters," "Voters Go to the Polls for Many Reasons" and "Essential Facts about Tuesday's Elections." In addition, language service correspondents in the U.S. brought live updates on the vote throughout the day to Russian, Armenian, Iranian and other listeners in RFE/RL's broadcast region.
Several services interviewed ethnic American voters. A Los Angeles correspondent for RFE/RL's Armenian Service spoke to members of the ethnic Armenian community there, while a New Jersey correspondent for the North Caucasus Service broadcasting in Chechen, Circassian and Avar made a similar program with members of the Chechen American community in New Jersey. The Belarusian Service polled Belarusian Americans in half a dozen states across the U.S., asking what was important for them in the election and what impact they thought it would have on U.S. foreign policy. The interviews were broadcast November 7 and 8 in ten- minute segments every hour and could also be accessed on the Belarusian Service's website.

* Exclusive Interview on U.S. Democratic Majority Approaches to Iraq... RFE/RL Washington correspondent Andrew Tully gained an exclusive interview November 15 with political history professor Allan Lichtman of American University, asking him how the new Democrat majority in the U.S. Congress may influence America's strategy in Iraq. Lichtman drew an analogy with the declining popularity of the Vietnam War and said he expects President Bush to be open to negotiating with Democrats on Iraq. But Lichtman cautioned in the RFE/RL interview against underestimating the power of the presidency. He said "it's very, very difficult to govern from Congress... particularly with fragile majorities" (

* Exclusive Interview on Russia-U.S. Relations RFE/RL correspondent Claire Bigg in a November 9 report took a look at Russia-U.S. relations after the US midterm elections. She spoke to Aleksandr Golts, a political and defense expert for the Moscow-based "Yezhenedel'ny zhurnal," who said relations between the countries are likely to cool since "Democrats in the US Congress are unlikely to help Russia reach its two main goals -- the abolishment of the Jackson-Vanik amendment and approval to join the World Trade Organization." Golts noted that key posts in Congress are going to people who have "a consistent anti-Putin stance" over many years, adding "I think that relations between our countries will continue to deteriorate" (

* Covering the Pope in Turkey RFE/RL's Central News correspondent Jeffrey Donovan went to Turkey to cover Pope Benedict XVI's four-day visit there, starting November 28. The central theme of the Pope's trip -- to reach out to Muslims and improve ties with Orthodox Christians -- was a central programming theme of religious tolerance for many RFE/RL language broadcasts.
In this spirit, Donovan filed a report from Ankara on November 29, on an experiment in interfaith dialogue at the Theological Faculty of Ankara University. He interviewed several theologians and historians there about a growing movement to reconcile Islam with modernity, rejecting violence, terrorism and extremist interpretations of the Quran (
In another report from Istanbul on November 29, Donovan spoke with Vatican and Turkish experts about common elements in Christianity and Islam in the veneration of Mary, Mother of Jesus (
On November 30, Donovan gained an exclusive interview with Bishop Illarion Alfeyev, the Russian Orthodox Church's representative in Vienna to European institutions about divisions between Muslims and Catholics and attempts to reconcile them. The bishop in the interview called for a dialogue, saying "each of those religions must represent itself fully and authentically. We must not just say polite words to each other. But we must speak about problems. And among these, we must not silence history" (

* Attending NATO Summit in Riga Brussels-based RFE/RL correspondent, Ahto Lobjakas, traveled to Riga in late November to cover the two-day NATO summit November 28-29 and other events on the sidelines. In addition to reports on summit proceedings and statements of President George W. Bush and other heads of state, Lobjakas filed a detailed story on a high-level conference organized by the German Marshall Fund in Riga at the same time to discuss options in Afghanistan. Participants included NATO Supreme Commander in Europe General James L. Jones, Canadian foreign minister Peter MacKay, Afghan national security adviser Zalmay Rasul and German political analyst Christoph Bertram (

** The Executive Producer of RFE/RL's Central Newsroom, Deborah Seward, may be reached by email at <>; RFE/RL English-language news reports can be found at

RADIO FREE IRAQ CONCLUDES SADDAM TRIAL COVERAGE WITH LIVE VERDICT ANNOUNCEMENT... On November 5, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq broke into regular programming to report live on the announcement of the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein (; Radio Free Iraq followed the live announcement with a special half-hour program of reactions reported live from five Iraqi cities--Baghdad, Tikrit, Mosul, Amara, and Basra--as well as Amman in neighboring Jordan. Regular programs that day carried 16 additional reports relating to the verdict, including a pro-Saddam demonstration in Tikrit and anti-Saddam celebrations on city streets. Other reports included statements by Iraqi government officials, U.S. President George Bush, and Egyptian writer Usamah Al-Ghazuli.
Radio Free Iraq has provided regular coverage of Saddam Hussein's long trial since it began a year ago, with regular reporting from its correspondent at the court, summaries of each day's developments, and analysis of legal decisions.

...PROVIDES SPECIAL COVERAGE OF BUSH MIDEAST TRIP Radio Free Iraq pre-empted regular programming on November 30 to air a special broadcast on President Bush's talks in Jordan with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The 20-minute program included reports from two Radio Free Iraq correspondents in Amman on Bush and al- Maliki's joint press conference with lengthy excerpts of statements by the two leaders. Meanwhile, Radio Free Iraq correspondents in Baghdad reported on the boycott of six cabinet ministers and 30 members of parliament who suspended participation in government affairs in protest of the meeting with Bush.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, Sergey Danilochkin, may be reached by email at <>. Radio Free Iraq's website is at; English-language news about events in Iraq can be found at

AFGHAN PRESIDENT TELLS RFE/RL OF ASSURANCES FROM PRESIDENT BUSH Afghan President Hamid Karzai told RFE/RL on November 9 that he has received assurances from President Bush that changes in the U.S. government following America's midterm elections will not weaken the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan. In a wide-ranging interview conducted in the presidential palace in Kabul by Radio Free Afghanistan Director Akbar Ayazi, Karzai told listeners that "President Bush has assured me that changes in the institutions of government in the United States will not have an effect on Afghanistan; the Democrats and Republicans are all supporters of Afghanistan." Karzai also praised outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, calling him "a friend of Afghanistan, a good ally, and a supporter in the war against terrorism."
An English transcript of the interview can be read at; additional reporting on the interview can be read at

AFGHAN SERVICE ATTENDS CONFERENCE ON SELF-IMMOLATION Radio Free Afghanistan correspondents in Kabul attended a three-day conference on self-immolation by women--and men--in Afghanistan and other countries. Among the participants were also representatives from Iran, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and India.
RFE/RL Central News correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari spoke with Ancil Adrian-Paul, Afghanistan-based program manager for the German women's rights organization Medica Mondiale and organizer of the conference, about the problem of self-immolation and what the conference hopes to achieve (English transcript at In the report, aired on November 14--the opening day of the conference--Adrian-Paul said conference participants would discuss the findings of a research project in eight Afghan provinces. According to Adrian-Paul, "one of the interesting things that was coming out was that 28 percent of the victims that we followed were males between the ages of 19 to 50." Adrian-Paul also told RFE/RL that self-immolation is on the rise among men and women from different walks of life and all major ethnic groups.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, Akbar Ayazi, may be reached by email at <>. Radio Free Afghanistan's website is located at; English-language news about events in Afghanistan can be found at

KYRGYZ SERVICE REPORTS STREET PROTESTS LIVE Throughout the first 10 days of November, the Kyrgyz Service pre-empted regular programming to go live with reports of street protests that erupted as part of a power struggle between the President and the Parliament. The Service had correspondents posted throughout Bishkek and maintained a careful balance by interviewing both government officials and opposition leaders. On November 1, the day the rallies started, the Service's weekly television show "Inconvenient Questions" featured opposition leader Almaz Atambayev, head of the Social Democratic Party. It was the only broadcast that day to offer a viewpoint other than that of the government. The Service also compiled a photo gallery of the street protests, which was posted on RFE/RL's English- and Kyrgyz-language websites (
Kyrgyz language coverage of the Kyrgyzstan protests may be accessed at;;;; English-language coverage can be found at;;

** The Director of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev, may be reached by email at <>. The Kyrgyz Service's website is at http://www.; English-language news about events in Kyrgyzstan can be found at

KAZAKH SERVICE AT KRISHNA EVICTION... RFE/RL's Kazakh Service had correspondents on the scene November 23 when Almaty municipal authorities demolished twelve suburban houses belonging to Hari Krishna followers, rendering more than 35 people homeless in freezing sub-zero weather. The correspondents interviewed several representatives of the group, including a family with a newborn baby girl. The story, broadcast in the Kazakh and Russian languages and posted in both languages on the Kazakh Service's website, aroused the interest of the Kazakh Bureau for Human Rights, which is now looking into the issue (

...FIRST TO REPORT MASS PROTEST On November 26, the Kazakh Service was the first to report that thousands of protestors had gathered in the center of Almaty to demand that the Kazakh government withdraw its decision to ban imports of right-side-wheeled vehicles as of January 1, 2007 and to ban the use of such automobiles on Kazakh roads. Protests over the car issue were reported in eight major cities (; When Kazakh state television covered the story a few hours later, a microphone bearing RFE/RL's torch logo could be clearly seen in their footage. The Kazakh Service also covered the event in Russian on its weekly program for Kazakhstan's Russian speakers (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, Merhat Sharipzhan, may be reached by email at <>. The Kazakh Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Kazakhstan can be found at

GEORGIAN SERVICE COVERS REFERENDUM IN BREAKAWAY REPUBLIC... The November 12 presidential election and referendum on independence in Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia was a major story for RFE/RL's Georgian Service. Coverage included a November 8 interview with Eduard Kokoity, the Moscow-backed presidential candidate who went on to win a second term. The Service reported that 99 percent of the voters voted for independence, but that, with the exception of Russia, the international community did not recognize the referendum (

...ASKS PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ABOUT NATO... RFE/RL Georgian Service Tbilisi correspondent Koba Liklikadze spoke with Georgian parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze on November 30, to hear her evaluation of the just-concluded NATO summit ( Burjanadze said Georgia received strong support from all summit participants and "will do whatever it takes to continue with the reforms, and to make Georgia a candidate--or, rather, even a member of this organization--soon." Burjanadze said "not a single official or informal gathering, not a single bilateral meeting went by without very active discussion about Georgia and its future membership [in the alliance]," and that "it has been specifically underscored that Georgia belongs here--where democratic states, NATO member countries stand."

...AIRS INTERVIEW WITH GEORGIAN PRIME MINISTER RFE/RL Central News Brussels correspondent Ahto Lobjakas asked Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli, during an exclusive interview November 15, about Georgia's trade problems with Russia and what Tbilisi expected from the European Union (English transcript at Russia has blocked imports of Georgian wine, mineral water, and agricultural products--depriving Georgia of its biggest market--while Georgia could retaliate by blocking Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization. Noghaideli told RFE/RL that "EU pressure on Russia is not the most important issue on our (Georgian) agenda, although we are certainly explaining all the time to our EU partners that Georgia and some of the Georgian issues should definitely be discussed with Russia." Noghaideli outlined to RFE/RL Georgia's position, made official a week later, reiterating that Georgia would approve Russia's bid to join the WTO if Tbilisi is able to regain control of two customs posts in the separatist Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Georgian Service, David Kakabadze, may be reached by email at <>. The Georgian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Georgia can be found at

ARMENIA, AZERBAIJANI SERVICES FOLLOW EU ACCORD, NKAO PEACE TALKS RFE/RL Armenian Service director Harry Tamrazian and RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service Acting Director Kenan Aliyev traveled to Brussels in mid- November to cover bi-lateral talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments and their meetings with the European Union. The RFE/RL broadcasters gained seven exclusive interviews in Brussels with senior Azerbaijani, Armenian and EU officials. In both countries, RFE/RL broadcasts were the leading source of news on the Brussels negotiations and made headlines in the local Armenian and Azerbaijani media.
November 14, RFE/RL aired Tamrazian and Aliyev's report on the signing of European Neighborhood Policy action plans with the South Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia for aid, improved trade, and more political cooperation in exchange for political and economic reforms. Part of the broadcast was an exclusive interview with EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero- Waldner. She emphasized that the neighborhood policy is not a preliminary to membership, but said also that "the future is not prejudged," and that "these countries have to use this momentum now to do everything to get the experience that we have, the knowledge, the possibilities of cooperation, we want to help them" ( EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told RFE/RL listeners about the benefits of the plan, saying the plan's objective is to strengthen regional cooperation and bring the countries closer to the EU ( EU Special Representative to the South Caucasus Peter Semneby told RFE/RL that despite human rights abuses and corruption, especially in Azerbaijan, "it's better to embrace these countries than to leave them out in the cold." "The two countries are now included in a cooperative framework with the European Union which also includes a perspective for the future," Semneby said.
In other reports, Tamrazian and Aliyev separately interviewed the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively about their meeting to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told RFE/RL the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process is moving in the right direction." Two weeks later, after a meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Minsk, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told RFE/RL in Yerevan, that "both presidents positively evaluated the meeting itself in terms of atmosphere and constructive approaches." Oskanian said "in coming days the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will analyze everything in detail, after which they will give concrete instruction to the ministers about further steps to be taken."

** The Director of RFE/RL's Armenian Service, Hrair Tamrazian, may be reached by email at <>. The Armenian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Armenia can be found at;the Acting Director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Kenan Aliyev, may be reached by email at <>. The Azerbaijani Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Azerbaijan can be found at

CROATIAN PRESIDENT VISITS RFE/RL, WARNS OF INACTION ON KOSOVO... Croatian President Stjepan Mesic told RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS) in Prague on November 14 that the time has come to resolve the question of Kosovo's status, because the current "status quo cannot remain in the long run." He visited the RFE/RL broadcast operations center during a brief trip to Prague for a meeting with Czech President Vaclav Klaus.
During the interview, Mesic said it is unreasonable to expect the issue to be resolved by direct talks between Prishtina and Belgrade, since Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority wants only independence, to which the Serbs will never agree. Consequently, Mesic told RFE/RL, "The international community has to help." He added that the Kosovars will also probably be asked to guarantee that they will not seek to form a "Greater Albania" -- something that is not seriously sought by any leading Kosovar or Albanian political party (

...RFE/RL FIRST IN BALKANS WITH NEWS OF NATO PARTNERSHIP OFFER... RFE/RL was the first media in the countries that once comprised Yugoslavia to break the news that NATO will invite Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to join its Partnership for Peace program. A correspondent for RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS) was able to report from the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia on November 28 that, at its session the next day, NATO members would invite the three countries to join Partnership for Peace. The move signaled a change in the positions of the United States, Britain and Netherlands, which earlier had insisted that Serbia and Bosnia must demonstrate full cooperation with the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague before closer NATO ties could be considered. SSALS broke the news in its evening program at 6:25PM local time, posting it on its website at 6:30PM. Regional media, including state television networks, picked up the story that night, with printed media reporting on the development the following day.

...DRAWS ATTENTION TO POLITICAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN IN BALKANS The political exploitation of children was the topic of the week on the November 11 regional program produced by RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS). RFE/RL correspondents found it to be a widespread practice, with children in Serbia and Croatia wearing T-shirts stamped with pictures of indicted war criminals. In Serbia, a school head who is also member of the Serbian Radical Party sent schoolchildren to sing at a ceremony launching a book of his party leader, Vojislav Seselj, who is currently imprisoned at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. In Bosnia, children were bused to rallies during the election campaign. RFE/RL talked to parents and psychologists and interviewed Elli Prader Vand, executive director of the Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF) in Geneva. Prader Vand said political exploitation of children is a new phenomenon for her organization and that, on the basis of the RFE/RL report, the issue will be included on the WWSF agenda (

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS), Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>. The SSALS website in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian is located at, in Albanian at and in Macedonian at; English-language news about events in Bosnia- Herzegovina can be found at, in Macedonia at, and in Serbia and Montenegro at

UKRAINIAN SERVICE INTERVIEWS U.S. AMBASSADOR... One week before Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych trip to Washington, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service aired an interview November 27 with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, who commented on key issues in the bilateral relationship. Taylor said relations with NATO would be discussed during the visit, telling RFE/RL that the amount of information available to the Ukrainian people about NATO has not been adequate and legitimate questions need to be answered. According to Taylor, "when the Ukrainian people have made up their minds, had their questions answered--and, indeed, when they are asked, if they say, yes, then the door is open. The door to NATO is open and the Ukrainian people will decide when to walk in." Taylor also spoke about energy and US projects to help Ukraine diversify and strengthen energy security. Asked about Ukraine's prospects for joining the World Trade Organization, Taylor said that if Ukraine passes the necessary legislation, it could join WTO within a couple of months. "The Americans are going to be very pleased to meet with Mr. Yanukovych, so I think this is going to be a good visit," Taylor said (
The Ukrainian Service also covered the latest clash between the Moscow-leaning Yanukovych and pro-western foreign minister Borys Tarasiuk, over a scheduling problem during Yanukovych U.S. trip. The prime minister asked that Tarasiuk be fired; the Ukrainian Rada was scheduled to vote on it December 1. British expert Kasia Wolczuk said in an interview that day for the Ukrainian Service that the dismissal of Tarasiuk and other pro-Western ministers would damage Ukraine's prospects for European integration (

...COMMEMORATES FAMINE DAY... A top story for RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service was the November 25 Holodomor Commemoration Day, marking the 1932-33 famine in the former Soviet Union in which as many as ten million Ukrainians may have starved to death. Ukrainian Service correspondents in Prague, New York, Washington, London, Rome, Brussels, Riga and Jerusalem contributed to the package of reports, as did correspondents in the service's Kyiv bureau.
Starting November 3, the service aired interviews with Russian, U.S. and Ukrainian experts, historians and scholars and with Ukrainian politicians from across the spectrum. A series of reports from the regions included what people in Dnipropetrovsk think about the famine (; how the issue has been politicized in Crimea (; a Holodomor memorial exhibition in Chernivtsi (; how Holodomor is taught as part of the school curriculum for Ukrainian literature ( and a review of songs about Holodomor by a contemporary Ukrainian composer (
A special program aired during the second week of November included interviews with survivors from different parts of Ukraine, each relating the horrors they experienced at the time: "They beat us, they didn't let us speak, those Communists" (; "Many people died; those who had some strength dug ditches and buried them, there were no cemeteries" (; "They threw people into a common ditch, with no coffins" (; "We lived on eating grass, and some peas we managed to find" (
In an exclusive November 20 interview with former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, Ukrainian Service listeners heard how the Irish commemorate the great potato famine ( A November 27 broadcast reported the joyful reaction of British Ukrainians to the Ukrainian parliament's decision to recognize Holodomor as a genocide and remembered British journalist Gareth Jones--one of the first journalists to inform the world about what was going on in Ukraine in 1933 and the first to call it an "artificial famine" (
A special photo gallery about Holodomor and links to the articles mentioned above can also be found on the Ukrainian Service's website, at

...GETS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LATVIAN PRESIDENT... RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service drew on its extensive network of foreign correspondents for comprehensive coverage of the NATO summit in Riga, which was of keen interest to Ukrainian listeners. A programming highlight was an exclusive interview with Latvian President Vaira Vike- Freiberga, who spoke about the process Latvians went through to join NATO ( A Ukrainian Service correspondent in Riga monitored summit proceedings and reported on NATO's "open doors" policy (, the alliance's plans for further cooperation with Ukraine ( and the final summit declaration After the summit, a Ukrainian Service correspondent in Belgrade reported reaction in the Balkans to NATO's decision to invite Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia to join the "Partnership for Peace" program (

...MARKS INTERNATIONAL TOLERANCE DAY RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service commemorated International Tolerance Day on November 16 with a series of reports that provided an overview of tolerance in Ukraine (,; discussed the issue of ethnic tolerance during a roundtable with the president of the Roma Congress of Ukraine (; and examined Roma rights and challenges in the Transcarpathian region (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, Olga Buriak, may be reached by email at <>. The Ukrainian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Ukraine can be found at

RFE/RL in the News

RADIO FREE IRAQ CORRESPONDENTS RISK LIVES, PROPERTY RFE/RL Radio Free Iraq Baghdad correspondent Hassan Rashid was driving to the service's bureau November 15 when a bomb exploded and damaged his car. Rashid escaped without serious injury and later reported his experience on air: "I admit now we were passive actors, saying there has been a bomb explosion at this or that place resulting in three people killed... We had no idea about the trauma and shock suffered by the victims. It is like hell, in the moment it happens." He said it is virtually impossible to safeguard against a terrorist attack in the streets: "It is very hard for ordinary Iraqis and for journalists to guard against a bombing in the current situation in Baghdad. We can neither guess, nor determine how, when, where the next bombing will occur."
A few days later, November 19, three car bombs exploded near the house of Radio Free Iraq contributor Emad Yasim, damaging its front wall. Jasim went to the site to try and file a report on the explosions, but was attacked and struck by an armed man shouting abuse. Yasim says armed men rove the streets at will and tension is rising in his neighborhood.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, Sergey Danilochkin, may be reached by email at <>. Radio Free Iraq's website is at; English-language news about events in Iraq can be found at

SSALS LAUNCHES NEW TELEVISION PROGRAMS IN SERBIA On November 14, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS) launched a new pilot television program, "An Hour with RSE [RFE]". Hosted by Belgrade Bureau Chief Slobodan Arezina, the bi- monthly interview program is produced in cooperation with 10 major local and regional TV stations around the country and features call-ins and e-mails to prominent Serbian political figures as well as a discussion segment.
That same day, the SSALS aired a one-hour pilot talk show on the Kragujevac Serb television station November 14, called "Local TV Presents RFE/RL." The station broadcasts to central Serbia, inhabited by an estimated half a million people. A moderator from RFE/RL's Belgrade bureau appeared with a Kragujevac TV moderator, interviewing the Serb economy minister. Dozens of callers clogged the phones with questions about low salaries, high unemployment, a high rate of bankruptcy and other problems of the poverty-stricken region which is nicknamed locally "valley of hunger." The minister's statements were widely quoted the next day by the Serb Beta news agency and two national TV networks.

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS), Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>. The SSALS website in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian is located at; English-language news about events in Serbia and Montenegro at

RFE/RL LOSES AFFILIATE IN AZERBAIJAN The government-mandated closure of ANS, Azerbaijan's first private radio and television company, on November 24, received international media attention and widespread condemnation. The Azerbaijani government's decision to shut down ANS, which carried RFE/RL and Voice of America programs, was widely seen as an attempt to silence a source of independent news and information. ANS Radio began re-broadcasting a 30-minute RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service program in July 2006.
The service continues to broadcast 3.5 hours of programming on government-granted AM frequencies in Baku and Ganje, as well as its complete 5.5 hour daily schedule on satellite and Internet audio channels; these broadcasts have not been affected by the closure of ANS. RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service broadcasts five and one half hours of programming a day to Azerbaijan, produced in Prague and the service's Baku Bureau and transmitted to listeners via satellite and AM signals provided by local affiliate stations. Azerbaijani Service programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's website and at; English-language news about events in Azerbaijan can be found on the RFE/RL website, at

** The Acting Director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Kenan Aliyev, may be reached by email at <>. The Azerbaijani Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Azerbaijan can be found at

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