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Ruslan Gelischanow - A Radio Svoboda Pioneer

Czech Republic -- Ruslan Gelischanow, Russian Service broadcaster.
Czech Republic -- Ruslan Gelischanow, Russian Service broadcaster.

On March 25, 2018, RFE/RL lost long-time colleague and veteran journalist Ruslan Gelischanow.

Gelischanow, 70, worked for RFE/RL for 39 years, first in Munich and then moving with the company when it relocated to Prague in 1995. He was Head of Production for the Director of Broadcasting, and later Head of Production in the Office of the President. He held many positions with RFE/RL's Russian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda, retiring in 2013 after serving as its Director of Strategy and News Media.

Reacting to the news, Irina Lagunina, Senior Journalist and Editor of Special Projects for the Russian Service, summed up Gelishanow's contributions: “Ruslan modernized our broadcasting, added structure to our schedule, and shifted Radio Liberty to live programming." She said, "He was a great professional and a great colleague with his own fantastic sense of humor.”

In a 2012 interview with RFE/RL about his career, Gelishanow said, "I literally grew up at RFE/RL, following in the footsteps of my parents, who were among the founders of Radio Svoboda in Munich. This organization and its mission is in my blood."

He described his time with the company as "never boring," and said he was "always learning and growing from new challenges." Asked about the most rewarding aspect of his job, he said, "I'm at a loss of words to say. I guess it has always been the project I'm working on at the time."

Gelishanow is survived by his wife, Rita.