‘Radio Svoboda’ and ‘Current Time TV’ to move editorial staff out of Russia
The leadership of Radio Svoboda and Current Time TV have offered to help some of the editorial staff from their Moscow bureau leave Russia, reports the BBC Russian Service, citing nine employees from these news organizations.
Management suggested that the staff members relocate to the Czech Republic or Ukraine, though the decision to leave Russia has been left up to the employees themselves, sources told the Russian BBC. Those who decide to leave Moscow are set to move in May. Two sources noted that there has been no mention of those who decide to stay in Russia losing their jobs. Radio Svoboda’s regional freelancers have not yet received offers to relocate.
“Now negotiations are underway about all of the employees, and if someone agrees to leave, then the company provides all the necessary assistance,” one of the Russian BBC’s sources said. In addition to relocating its editorial staff, the company reportedly plans to move most of its high-value equipment, leaving only a small portion of its tech in Moscow.
That said, the Moscow bureau isn’t going to be shutting down. RFE/RL stated that they’re planning to keep the bureau “open and operational” and to resist “attacks from the Kremlin.” Andrey Shary, the director of the Russian service who’s based in Prague, said that the editorial office is planning to transfer “only some projects” from Russia, and that “some employees may move from Moscow.”
Several dozen people work for the Moscow bureau of Radio Svoboda and Current Time TV. There are also hundreds of freelancers across Russia who work with RFE/RL.
“The massive departure of [Radio] Svoboda employees from Russia may be the first such case in the Moscow’s bureau’s 30 years of work since its opening in 1991.”
Radio Svoboda is the Russian branch of U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Current Time TV is a joint project by RFE/RL and Voice of America. The Russian authorities have labeled both news organizations as “foreign agents.”
The BBC Russian Service linked the decision to move Radio Svoboda and Current Time TV employees out of Russia to heavy fines handed down by Russia’s censorship agency, Roskomnadzor (RKN). On April 7, RKN announced that Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty LLC had accumulated 71.5 million rubles (more than $945,000) in fines for failing to include “foreign agent” labels on its publications.