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Service Snapshots: Alexander Lukashuk

Belarus - Alexander Lukashuk at USA embassy in Minsk, 20 May 2009

A brief conversation with Alexander Lukashuk, the Director of RFE's Belarus Service: "Our slogan is 'Your voice is the voice of freedom.”

Since joining RFE in 1993, he has also served as Director of Radio Free Afghanistan (2004-2005), and as acting Executive Editor. Born in Belarus, Lukashuk graduated from Minsk Linguistic University. He has worked as a translator, journalist, and documentary script writer, and served as Editor-in-Chief of a Belarus publishing house.

What impact is Radio Svaboda having in Belarus?

AL: What impact does fresh air have? Political prisoner and ex-presidential candidate, Professor Alexander Kazulin, listened to Radio Liberty behind bars. When released for 48 hours to attend his wife’s funeral, he stopped in our Minsk bureau to say, “Your programs are like a gulp of fresh air in a prison cell.” Thousands of letters from people of all ages from all over the country testify that Professor Kazulin is not alone in his appreciation of RFE/RL as a vital voice for survival and hope in the last dictatorship in Europe.
“Your programs are like a gulp of fresh air in a prison cell.”

What is one popular program or aspect of your service that is making a difference?

AL: Our slogan is “Your voice is the voice of freedom.” We preach and practice citizen journalism, interactivity, and provide airtime for popular bloggers in a monthly “Day of the Blogger” internet event. We also have a unique at-large community called “Friends of Liberty” – about 1,000 active listeners who help to distribute our books, DVDs, and brochures, and who provide constant feedback.

What motivated you to get into journalism?

AL: The illusion that words matter, which I am still addicted to.