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RFE/RL Review December 3, 2004

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The Best of RFE/RL Broadcast Service Reporting
Week of November 22-December 3, 2004

The central story of the past two weeks for RFE/RL broacast services have been the dramatic events in Ukraine. RFE/RL's Russian, Central Asian and other language broadcasts are using unique reporting provided by the Ukrainian Service and in turn are enriching RFE/RL broadcasts to Ukraine with interviews and analyses that provide an international perspective unmatched by other media in Ukraine.

RFE/RL'S UKRAINIAN SERVICE -- AT THE POLLS ON ELECTION DAY... On Election Day, November 21, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service was on the air live for six hours with reports on the election process throughout the day from 15 regional correspondents in all major Ukrainian cities. In Kyiv, an additional network of 16 RFE/RL correspondents were stationed at major polling centers, and key government offices. An extra dimension unmatched by local media was coverage by RFE/RL correspondents of voting by expatriate Ukrainians in Washington, Rome, Prague and other world capitals.

...IN THE RIGHT PLACE DURING PROTESTS RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service is seen by its listeners as a station in the right place at the right time. In recent days, RFE/RL's Kyiv bureau (located on Khreshchatyk Street just off of Independence Square) has become a stopping place for a stream of visitors, warming up with a cup of tea and granting a quick interview about their experiences before rejoining the street protests. RFE/RL reporters are also out on the streets with the protesters -- a network of 15 correspondents in Kyiv alone, maintaining a direct linkup with the studio in RFE/RL's Kyiv bureau. Programming highlights included a program, aired on November 28, on the music of the Orange Revolution -- with audio of the march tunes and songs sung on the streets. On November 29, Ukrainian Service correspondents prepared a 30-minute program on street democracy, interviewing the "tent people," asking them what it's like for the people who, by that time, have been sleeping for more than seven days in the hundreds of tents erected behind Independence Square -- and getting answers from three generations of demnstrators to the questions "why are you here" and "how do you hope this will end".

...PROVIDING WORLD REACTION TO CRISIS Ukrainians are intensely interested in their position in the world and what the international community thinks of them. The Ukrainian Service draws on reports from its correspondents in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, as well as Washington, Toronto Jerusalem, Rome, Brussels, Moscow to provide a truly global perspective on events in Ukraine, featured on RFE/RL's nightly, very popular, "Ukraine and the World". During the November 26 broadcast, the Ukrainian Service aired a segment about Israeli observers in Ukraine, Russian criticism of the West because of statements on Ukraine, interviews with the OSCE Ambassador and an American academic and an item on Ukrainians in Italy collecting money to support protesters in Kyiv. On another night, the program included an interview with Ukraine's Ambassador to Croatia who expressed support for Yushchenko, and the prayer of a Russian Orthodox dignitary for the Ukrainian people.

...ENSURING EQUAL TIME FOR BLUE AND ORANGE RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service scrupulously maintained balance in its broadcasts, airing statements on the Ukrainian election by former Polish president Lech Walesa, as well as former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and Russian President Putin. Moderators have consistently maintained balance and impartiality in their discussions of both the Yanukovych and Yushchenko campaigns, commonly identified with the colors orange and blue, respectively.

...BRIDGING EAST-WEST DIVIDE On December 3, for the first time, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service assembled a five-city "radio roundtable" during its "Evening Liberty" talk show to discuss the topic "Ukraine's East-West Divide -- Real or Artificial?" The show, moderated from Prague, linked guests in Kyiv and Lviv in the western part of Ukraine with Simferopol in Crimea and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. RFE/RL's Donetsk guest was regional council member Andriy Bondarchuk; parliament member and author Ivan Drach participated from Kyiv; in Lviv the roundtable was joined by Vice-Chancellor of Lviv University Mariya Zubrytska; while of the Crimean Parliament Deputy Speaker Vasyl Kyselyov took part from Simferopol. The audio (RealAudio and Windows Media formats) and transcript of the 3 December "Evening Liberty" roundtable (in Ukrainian) may be found on the Ukrainian Service's website, at acec-5eb8e79cdb5b.html

... RECEIVING THANKS FROM LISTENERS Here is a sampling of recent letters received by the Ukrainian Service translated into English:

"Dear Svoboda, Thank you, that with your programs, your trustworthy words you showed me how to deal with the situation in which Ukraine got to. It's a critical situation. I'm going to Kyiv to support Yushchcenko - our President. I'm going to demonstrate against falsification. People called me from Yanukovych's camp and proposed over 350 hryvnias to vote for Yanukovych. Thank you Svoboda." -- Ternopil oblast.

"Respected editors of Radio Svoboda. Greetings! "I wish you strength, health in this difficult time. Our people and national minorities in all regions are under ongoing pressure from manipulated state owned mass media. Please allow us to ask citizens of Ukraine, do not watch television networks UT1, 1+1, Inter. This TV Channels make of us idiots. Instead listen to Radio Svoboda and watch Channel 5 and read the newspapers of opposition..." -- Odessa

"Dear editors of Radio Svoboda, if Viktor Yanukovych wins in presidential elections then you did a bad job and should be fired. In case Viktor Yushchenko wins we will congratulate you with job well done and you will be not needed anymore..." -- Kharkiv

** The Director of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, Alexander Narodetsky, may be reached by email at <>.

VISITS DOUBLE TO RFE/RL UKRAINIAN WEBSITES The number of estimated visitors to the Ukrainian Service's website more than doubled in November compared to October, jumping from 25,258 to 49,644 as of November 28. A similar increase was noted in the number of estimated visitors to the Ukrainian Service's mirror site located in Ukraine,, which rose from 17,706 in October to 26,138 on November 28. A sample of the many interviews and analyses (in Ukrainian) broadcast by the Ukrainian Service since the November 21 election can be accessed at the following addresses:

Civil disobedience: Chronicle of events for December (1-3) a84b-f2181afc82fd.html

Civil disobedience: Chronicle of events for November (22-30) 9b36-a95b312cf027.html

Orange (about the Yushchenko campaign) AD51-308EFCBB2A88.html AB83-A06DFBEABAC2.html AF7A-86F85EBAEE00.html B4BB-D99998455E25.html

Blue (about the Yanukovych campaign) BFEB-9E3AD503E4DB.html 9AC2-E8F16E885FED.html Analyses BB96-357378DB1DEC.html B047-72370639E87A.html B51E-46ED20E99C6B.html 998C-B3320E411C40.html

English-Language Coverage by RFE/RL News Correspondents and Online Journalists

** The Director of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, Alexander Narodetsky, may be reached by email at <>.

** The Director of RFE/RL's News and Current Affairs Service, Kestutis Girnius, may be reached by email at <>.

** The Director of RFE/RL OnLine, Virginie Coulloudon, may be reached by email at <>.

Other RFE/RL News -----------------

ROMANIAN VOTERS LOOK TO UKRAINE RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service is preparing for the runoff round in Romania's presidential election on December 12, amidst claims by pro-democracy activists of widespread fraud during the first round of voting on November 28. The service reported that the 15 most prominent nongovernment organizations asked Romania's General Prosecutor on December 2 to open an investigation into allegations that up to 5 percent of votes were manipulated. Romanian activists expressed frustration in RFE/RL interviews that, unlike in neighboring Ukraine, authorities refused to consider invalidating the first round. According to final results published December 2, the ruling ex-communist Social Democrats (PSD) party won 132 seats in the 332-seat lower house while the centrist opposition alliance won 112 seats. The December 12 presidential run-off will be between Prime Minister Adrian Nastase and centrist opposition leader Traian Basescu. Experts interviewed by RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service said there were no similarities between the Romanian and Ukrainian election processes. More details on RFE/RL's coverage of the Romanian elections can be found on the service's website, at

** The Director of RFE/RL's Romania/Moldova Service, Oana Serafim, may be reached by email at <>.

KABUL RESIDENTS, OFFICIALS FACE OFF ON RADIO FREE AFGHANISTAN The December 3 broadcast of Radio Free Afghanistan's weekly "On the Waves of Freedom" program brought together Kabul residents, government officials and municipal authorities for a discussion that yielded unexpected results. The popular, two-hour, live call-in show focused on city administration and urban development issues with guests Kabul Deputy Mayor Faqir M. Bahram, Engineer Amir Wardak, and Najibullah Awzhan, who heads up the Kabul city public sector and serves as Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Rural Development and Rehabilitation. With Prague-based RFE/RL moderators Jan Alekozai (Pashto) and Nazar Zarif (Dari), they spoke about a lack of coordination with other parts of the government and the construction of unapproved housing projects that fail to meet international standards. Many calls came in to the show from Kabul residents addressing everyday concerns, including water supplies, garbage collection and affordable housing for the disabled, that had been promised by the government. During the show, RFA played tapes of interviews with disabled Afghans, saying the promise had not been fulfilled. This prompted Deputy Mayor Bahram to announce, on the RFE/RL program, that on that very day, 550 housing units would be donated to the Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled Afghans. One listener called to comment that ordinary Afghans normally have no access to high-ranking officials and to.thank Radio Free Afghanistan for providing Kabul residents the opportunity via the airwaves to speak with their elected officials and express their frustrations. Program audio is available on the Radio Free Afghanistan website, at and

** The Acting Director of Radio Free Afghanistan, Alexander Lukashuk, may be reached by email at <>.

MONTENEGRO PRIME MINISTER ON-LINE WITH RFE/RL Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic was the RFE/RL South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service's (SSALS) guest on November 26, for its weekly "On-Line With... " interview program. Djukanovic received more then 100 queries from Bosnia and Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo, as well as Montenegro. Many of the questions concerned the fragile union that currently exists between Serbia and Montenegro. Djukanovic said he is not enthusiastic about the union of Serbia and Montenegro, but as a responsible politician would respect the deal with Belgrade brokered by the European Union in 2002 that is to expire in 2006. Djukanovic said he is against holding parliamentary elections next January, before a referendum on Montenegro's status has occurred. He said the referendum should be held in 2006, after the Belgrade agreement expires, "for the will of the people to be expressed," and then an agreement could be negotiated with Serbia. The on-line interview, followed by an RFE/RL radio interview, were widely quoted next day by media throughout the region. The audio and transcript of the "On-Line With..." interview with Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic is available on the SSALS website, at 416e-b0d8-af1c3278998a.html.

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>.

SSALS EXCLUSIVE WITH MACEDONIAN LEADER Macedonia's new prime minister designate Vlado Buckovki gave an exclusive interview to the SSALS Macedonian Subunit on November 28. It was the first interview Buckovski granted since being given a mandate to form a new government by President Branko Crvenkovski. Buckovski told RFE/RL he expected parliament to approve his government by mid-December. He supported former Prime Minister Hari Kostov claims regarding corruption and nepotism among government officials. Mr. Buckovski also confirmed reports that an ethnic Albanian paramilitary group was operating in Macedonian village Kondovo and vowed that disbanding of a group would be among his priorities. The RFE/RL interview with Buckovski was top news in domestic media. Local television and radio stations quoted from the Buckovski interview during their prime time news shows. Nearly all Macedonian daily newspapers published excerpts from the interview, some of them on the front pages. A transcript of the interview may be fou nd on the Macedonian subunit's website, at 20C0-46AB-8DAD-5DB5E284CCCA.asp.

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>.

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