RFE/RL President Thomas Kent speaks at a reception celebrating the 25th anniversary of RFE/RL's Moscow bureau

BBG celebrates 25th anniversary of RFE/RL’s Moscow bureau

BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing traveled to Moscow this week to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Moscow bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, one of the BBG’s five civilian broadcast networks.

Lansing took part in a ceremony on Wednesday evening honoring the bureau for its quarter-century of service.  More than 100 people, including U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Teftt, U.S. Embassy and Russian Foreign Ministry representatives, foreign diplomats and NGO activists, attended the ceremony.

Lansing presented a plaque to journalists and support staff of RFE/RL’s Moscow bureau in recognition of its “25 years of dedication and service” to the Russian people.  He also presented certificates of distinguished service to five of the bureau’s employees, one of whom, Mikhail Sokolov, was instrumental in acquiring the license to open the Moscow bureau in August 1991.

“Tonight, we celebrate your work for two reasons,” Lansing told the employees being recognized.  “First, you have continued the work of the revered Russian service of RFE/RL, which has served as a companion and guide to Russians and Russian speakers for over six decades.  You are carrying forward a brilliant tradition.  And secondly, you have helped build a Moscow bureau that, for 25 years, has exemplified truth, courage and conviction in journalism.”

RFE/RL’s Russian service — also known as Radio Svoboda – was launched in 1953.  It is well known for producing independent, fact-based reporting that impacted Eastern Europe during the Communist period.

Earlier Wednesday, Lansing, IBB Deputy Director Jeff Trimble and RFE/RL President Thomas Kent met with leaders and staff of the Moscow bureau and participated in a town hall-style meeting.

Earlier in the week, Lansing and BBG Chairman Jeff Shell visited RFE/RL’s headquarters in Prague and met with staff and leadership there.  Lansing described RFE/RL as a “dynamic company” that has made great strides in recent years, referring to the launch of the VOA-RFE/RL jointly produced Russian-language news program Current Time; RFE/RL’s new digital media department (DIGIM), which Lansing said has “pioneered social video in the Russian-language sphere”; and Farda TV newscasts to Iran.

While in Prague, Shell and Lansing also met with the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Andrew Schapiro.