Assen Geshakov, a former journalist for both the Bulgarian and Russian Services of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), died on December 13 in Sofia, Bulgaria. He was 68.
Between 1988 and 1991, Geshakov was the Moscow correspondent for Bulgarian Television and his reporting on perestroika and the Gorbachev-era reforms made him a household name across Bulgaria. Geshakov’s interview with former KGB general Oleg Kalugin in 1991 was the first to shed light on the role played by the KGB in the murder of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov. Himself a journalist for Radio Free Europe, Markov was murdered in London in 1978. Kalugin revealed that the KGB had helped their Bulgarian colleagues by providing the technical tools for Markov’s killing.
In 1992, Geshakov joined the Bulgarian Service of RFE/RL in Munich and also regularly contributed analyses to the Russian Service. In 1995, he moved with RFE/RL to Prague and remained a host of the Bulgarian Service’s daily foreign policy show up until 2003, when broadcasting for Bulgaria was discontinued. In 2004-2005 he served as executive director of the Bulgarian National Television.
Born into a family of journalists in Sofia, on December 5, 1950, Geshakov spent his first school years in Moscow where his father worked at the time. After graduating from the Faculty of Journalism in Sofia, he briefly worked for National Radio and joined National Television in 1978. In the 1980s he presented some of the most popular TV news programs in Bulgaria.
Assen Gueshakov is survived by his wife, Julia, and his son Assen.