Accessibility links

Experts

RFE/RL is a unique source of information about many of the world's political hotspots, including Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Iraq, and 16 other countries in our broadcast region. Our journalists and experts are available for media interviews or to provide background information on a wide variety of subjects and issues.​

Select Category

Afghanistan

Hashem Mohmand

Hashem Mohmand is Director of RFE/RL’s Afghan Service, known locally as Radio Azadi. During his 23 tenure at RFE/RL, Mohmand has worked as a broadcaster, editor, and senior editor in the Tajik and Afghan services, covering all major political and social developments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. In the 1990s, Mohmand was the editor in chief of the magazine “Breeze of Freedom," serving the Afghan diaspora in Europe. Mohmand earned a Bachelor's degree in law and political science from the University of Kabul and has studied political science at universities in Bonn and Berlin, Germany, as well as Central Asian Ethnography and Islam in the Soviet Union at Indiana University.

Malali Bashir

Malali Bashir is a journalist and video producer with RFE/RL’s Afghan Service, known locally as Radio Azadi. Bashir, who is from Kabul, reports on a range of topics related to Afghanistan, often with a women’s rights perspective. She is also the founder of a Facebook group exclusively for Afghan women. Along with her work at RFE/RL, Bashir has written for BBC Pashto, Foreign Policy, and The Daily Times, and she has edited Afghan magazines. Prior to her journalistic work, Malali was a Fulbright scholar at Brandeis University, Massachusetts.

Expertise: Women’s rights, civil society

Hamid Mohmand

Hamid Mohmand is the chief of RFE/RL’s Kabul Bureau. Previously, Mohmand served as a news editor at the bureau, where he organized daily coverage of events in Afghanistan. Before coming to RFE/RL in 2003, he worked for State Radio Afghanistan for nine years. Mohmand graduated from the Indian Institute for Mass Communication with a degree in journalism. He is frequently interviewed by Indian and Pakistani media outlets on Afghan issues, and in 2013 received the David Burke award for his reporting on conflict in Afghanistan.

Abubakar Siddique

Abubakar Siddique is a journalist specializing in coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the editor of RFE/RL's "Gandhara" website. He has spent the past fifteen years researching and writing about security, political, humanitarian, and cultural issues in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Pashtun heartland where he was born. In addition to his reporting, Siddique speaks frequently at prominent think tanks in several countries, and has contributed articles, chapters, and research papers to a range of publications. Siddique's unique expertise is brought to bear in “The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan” book. (London: Hurst and Company, 2014).

Expertise: Afghanistan, Afghanistan-Pakistan issues, tribal regions

Armenia

Harry Tamrazian

Harry Tamrazian is the Director of RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. During his career, Tamrazian has covered major international events, most notably the 1992 United Nations session during which the former Soviet Union countries became UN members and the U.S.-mediated talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. His reports have been published in leading Armenian and South Caucasus regional newspapers, the Miami Herald, Asia Times, Times of Central Asia, Eurasia Insight, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has appeared on CNN and Al Jazeera to discuss developments in Armenia and Turkish-Armenian relations.

Siranuysh Gevorgyan

Siranuysh Gevorgyan, the Yerevan Bureau Director and Editor-in-Chief for RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, has been with the organization since 2010. She began as a web site (Azatutyun.am) editor, subsequently becoming the Bureau Director in April, 2016. Formerly she worked at local news web site ArmeniaNow.com covering domestic and foreign politics and social issues. Gevorgyan holds a M.D. in Journalism from Yerevan State University. She is fluent in English and Russian.

Artur Papyan

Artur Papyan is a senior multimedia editor with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service and a key member of its live Internet TV team. He also oversees the Armenian Service’s social media accounts and edits the Armenian version of the website. Papyan has reported on Armenia’s top stories, and streamed live video from major international events like Euromaidan in Ukraine. In recent years he has taught online media, internet journalism, and professional ethics at a number of Armenian universities. And previously worked as the Armenian country coordinator for the London based Media Diversity Institute. He has produced documentary films, radio programs, and newspaper supplements.

Expertise: Technology, Social Media Marketing, Blogging, Media Ethics

Heghine Buniatyan

Heghine Buniatyan has been a senior editor with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service since June 2016. She has previously served as the editor-in-chief of the Yerevan bureau, a broadcaster, and as the director of the Maxliberty Youth Program. Before joining RFE/RL in 2004, she worked for Armenian Public Television as a correspondent and anchor of the midnight news, and as a freelancer at Internews, contributing weekly reports for radio and television. A graduate of Yerevan State University and Moscow State University with a degrees in journalism, Buniatyan also participated in a number of journalism and leadership training courses in Armenia and abroad. In 2004 she won first prize in the OSCE media awards in the Best Radio Journalist category for highlighting environmental issues.

Azerbaijan

Ilkin Mammadov

Ilkin Mammadov is the director of RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service. Having joined RFE/RL in 2004, he has reported on major news events and played a lead role in launching several of the service’s signature programs on FM, TV, and the web. Previously, he worked for Internews-Network and several local TV stations in Baku, Azerbaijan. Mammadov holds an MBA degree from the University of Pittsburgh's Katz Graduate School of Business, and a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baku State University.

The Balkans

Arbana Vidishiqi

Arbana Vidishiqi is the director or RFE/RL’s Balkan Service and head of the service’s Kosovo Unit. She joined RFE/RL in 1999 as a Pristina-based political affairs correspondent, becoming chief of the ethnically diverse Pristina bureau in 2001, during the volatile inter-ethnic tensions that followed the 1999 war in Kosovo. In June 2011, Vidishiqi was appointed head of the Kosovo unit. A 1994 graduate of Hendon College, London with a degree in communications and technology, Vidishiqi is a native Albanian speaker and is fluent in English and south Slavic languages.

Expertise: Kosovo, Balkan region, radical extremism

Gordana Knezevic

Gordana Knezevic is the author of RFE/RL's blog "Balkans Without Borders," an expert source of regional commentary and analysis for English-speaking audiences. She was director of RFE/RL's Balkan Service from 2008 - 2016. Knezevic is well-known for work as deputy editor of “Oslobodjenje,” the internationally recognized Sarajevo-based daily newspaper that never stopped publishing during the Bosnian War, a role for which she was honored with the 1992 Courage in Journalism award by the Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation. After leaving Bosnia, Knezevic worked as an online editor with Reuters News Agency in Canada, and was a regular contributor to the Toronto Star and CBC Radio.

Dragan Stavljanin

Dragan Stavljanin is a journalist with RFE/RL's Balkan Service. Originally based in Belgrade, he joined RFE/RL in 1999 in Prague, where he has produced analyses on Balkan-Russia relations, Balkan-EU relations, post-communist political and economic transitions and ethnic conflicts; moderated nighttime radio programs; and interviewed numerous foreign politicians and experts. In 2008 he authored a radio and Internet series on frozen conflicts in the Southern Caucasus. Stavlijanin has been interviewed about the Balkans by media in the U.S., Russia, Iran, France, Poland, the Baltic States, and in the Czech Republic. He holds a Ph.D and is the author of the books “Cold Peace: Caucasus and Kosovo” and “The Balkanization of the Internet and the Death of Journalists.”

Expertise: Serbia, Balkan region, Frozen Conflicts

Dzenana Halimovic

Dzenana Halimovic has worked as a correspondent for RFE/RL since 2005. She began working as a journalist in Bosnia in 1998, reporting for the Bosnian dailies “Oslobodenje” and “Vecernje novine,” and later for the magazine “Start BiH” and the national TV station BHRT. Her main reporting interests are war crimes and organized crime, as well as major political and security issues in the region. She won an Amnesty International Global Human Rights Award and an award from the Bosnian Journalists Union for the best investigative story in 2003.

Expertise: war crimes, terrorism, organized crime and corruption.

Marija Mitevska

Marija Mitevska is a senior journalist based in Macedonia with RFE/RL’s Balkan Service, providing TV interviews and video reports for the station’s website. Before joining RFE/RL in 2009, Mitevska worked at the popular Macedonian TV station A1. In 2014, she was the only Macedonian journalist to win a Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. Also in 2014, she received an honorable mention in the Macedonian Institute of Media’s Nikola Mladenov competition for one of her investigative reports. Mitevska holds a degree from the School for Journalism and Public Relations in Macedonia.

Expertise: Macedonia, Corruption, Multimedia

Milos Teodorovic

Milos Teodorovic joined RFE /RL in 1999 and in December 2015 he became the Bureau Chief of RFE/RL’s Serbian Service. As a RFE/RL journalist Teodorovic received numerous awards for investigative journalism, radio and TV journalism, among which his "Gaffe of the Week" column was honored with the American Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts award (2014). Milos also received awards from the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia for his story on Serbian right wing extremists (2012) and an EU investigative journalism award for his documentary on protected witnesses associated with war crimes in Serbia (2014).

Belarus

Alexander Lukashuk

Alexander Lukashuk is the Director of RFE/RL’s Belarus service. Since joining RFE/RL in 1993, Lukashuk has held roles as Director of RFE/RL’s Afghan Service (2004-2005) and as acting Executive Editor (2007). Born in Belarus, he graduated from Minsk Linguistic University, worked as a translator, journalist, and documentary script-writer, and served as editor-in-chief of the Belarus publishing house. Between 1990 and 1995, he participated in Belarus’s parliamentary commission on the crimes of Joseph Stalin. Lukashuk has authored five award-winning books, including “The Adventures of ARA in Belarus” on the American relief operation in the USSR in 1920s.

Jan Maksymiuk

Jan Maksymiuk is a multi-media journalist with RFE/RL’s Belarusian Service. In 1998-2008, he wrote news and analysis for "RFE/RL Newsline," the RFE/RL English-language website, and the electronic "RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova Report." Prior to joining RFE/RL, Maksymiuk served as a monitor at the Warsaw Bureau of the U.S. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Earlier, he worked as a journalist at the Belarusian-language weekly “Niva” in Bialystok, Poland. Maksymiuk holds a Masters degree in Physics from Warsaw University. His work has appeared in “Foreign Policy” (US), “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” (US), “Respekt” (Czech Republic), “ARCHE” (Belarus), and on the Warsaw-based Belsat television channel.

Expertise: International relations, economy

Vitali Tsyhankou

Vitali Tsyhankou, a Minsk-based broadcaster for RFE/RL’s Belarus Service, has been with the service since 1994. Tsyhankou prepares the “Expertise of Liberty” program and “Hero of the week” interview, and writes his columns. Previously, he worked for the newspaper Zviazda, and was the Belarus correspondent for the Associated Press and the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaja Gazeta. He was also a columnist and political analyst for the most popular independent newspaper, Svaboda. In 1991, Tsyhankou co-founded the Belarusian first independent BELAPAN news agency. He was awarded the Ales Adamovich prize by the Belarusian PEN-club for his commentaries and articles. In 1997, he was recognized as one of the three best political journalists by a survey conducted among Belarusian journalists, editors, and analyst. He was also awarded a prize for columns and analytical articles by the Belarusian Association of Journalist, Volnaje Slova (Free Word). Tsyhankou graduated from the faculty of journalism at the Belarusian State University in 1992. He speaks Belarusian, Russian, English, and Czech.

Central Newsroom

Brian Whitmore

Brian Whitmore is a senior Russia analyst for RFE/RL. He is the author of The Power Vertical Blog, The Power Vertical Podcast, the Daily Vertical, and the Morning Vertical, all of which focus on Russian affairs. Prior to joining RFE/RL in 2007, Whitmore worked for eight years for the Boston Globe, first in the Globe's Moscow bureau and later as Central and Eastern European correspondent based in Prague. Before this he was a political correspondent and columnist for The Moscow Times and its sister publication, The St. Petersburg Times. Whitmore’s work has appeared in leading Western foreign affairs media, including The Atlantic, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, and Newsweek, and he is frequently sought out to provide political commentary, including by CNN, the BBC World Service, and NPR. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Politics from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia and an MA in Political Science from Villanova University.

Expertise: Energy, Russia, Security & Military

Bruce Pannier

Bruce Pannier is an RFE/RL correspondent reporting on events and energy issues in Central Asia. He frequently reports from the region, most recently covering the parliamentary election campaign in Kyrgyzstan in 2015. Prior to joining RFE/RL in 1997, Pannier worked at the Open Media Research Institute in Prague. In 1992, he led a sociological project in Central Asia sponsored by the University of Manchester and the Soros Cultural Initiative Foundation, during which he lived in villages in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Pannier’s work has been published by Jane's Information Group, Transitions Online, Freedom House, and Newsbase, and he has spoken at Cambridge University, Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin, Glasgow University, and London’s Chatham House. He holds degrees from Columbia University, New York and Tashkent State University, Uzbekistan.

Expertise: Central Asia, Energy

Christopher Miller

Christopher Miller is an American journalist with more than six years of experience as a foreign correspondent. His focus is on global affairs, specifically conflicts, crises, and politics in the former Soviet Union and especially Ukraine, where he has been based since 2010. Currently, he is Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Ukraine correspondent. Previously, he served as Mashable’s senior international correspondent. He has also published with The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent, and GlobalPost.
In 2013, Christopher was the first Western correspondent on the ground in Kiev to cover the Euromaidan revolution. He also crisscrossed Crimea to cover Russia’s annexation of the peninsula before reporting on the war that exploded in eastern Ukraine.
His reporting extended far beyond Ukraine’s borders. In 2015, he reported from the front lines of Europe’s refugee crisis, interviewing people smugglers, refugees, volunteers and others affected in Greece, Italy, Malta, and Turkey. Christopher has also reported on the Kremlin’s military campaign in Syria, the rise of far-right and populist organizations across Europe, NATO’s moves in Europe and cyber security.

Golnaz Esfandiari

Golnaz Esfandiari is a senior correspondent in RFE/RL's Central Newsroom and editor of the award-winning Persian Letters blog. She was previously chief editor of RFE/RL‘s Persian Service, Radio Farda. Her reporting and analysis on Iran have been cited by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, and The Weekly Standard, and she is frequently sought out to provide commentary on Iran, including by CNN, NPR, BBC, and Czech, Slovak, Polish, Argentinian, and South African television and radio channels. Esfandiari has worked as a consultant on Iran with Freedom House, authoring several of their reports on human rights and press freedom in Iran. In 2013, she was tagged for the third year in a row in Foreign Policy's Top 100 Twitterati list (@GEsfandiari).

Expertise: Human Rights, Iran, Media Freedom

Frud Bezhan

Frud Bezhan covers Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran for RFE/RL, reporting frequently direct from Kabul and elsewhere in the region. Prior to joining RFE/RL, he worked as a freelance journalist in Afghanistan and contributed regularly to several Australian newspapers, including The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and The Australian. His work has also been published in The Atlantic, Defense One, and Asia Times. Bezhan holds a B.A. in journalism from Monash University, Australia.

Expertise: South Asia and the Middle East

Rikard Jozwiak

Rikard Jozwiak is the Brussels reporter for RFE/RL, responsible for daily reporting about EU institutions and NATO, the Eastern Partnership, and the Western Balkans. Prior to joining RFE/RL, he worked as the press officer at the EU office of Amnesty International and as a reporter for “European Voice” covering EU affairs. Jozwiak has a Masters degree in Journalism from the University of Lund, Sweden and a Masters degree in European Politics from the College of Europe. He speaks English, French, Polish and Swedish.

Expertise: Domestic Politics, Foreign Affairs, Security & Military, EU politics

Current Time: TV news for Russian-speaking audiences outside Russia

Daisy Sindelar

Daisy Sindelar is the Director of the Current Time digital network. Sindelar has been with RFE/RL since February 2001 and contributed in various journalistic and editorial roles within RFE/RL’s Central Newsroom. She advanced from Senior Correspondent to a management role as Regional Director, European Desk. Previous to joining RFE/RL she was managing editor of The Moscow Times and editor-in-chief of The St. Petersburg Times. Sindelar holds a B.A. in Russian studies from Bryn Mawr College, and completed post-graduate journalism studies at the University of Florida and advanced Russian language studies at the Herzen Pedagogical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Kenan Aliyev

Kenan Aliyev is the Executive Editor of Current Time, RFE/RL’s Russian-language TV program that brings independent news and information to Russian-speaking audiences in Russia and neighboring states. Produced jointly with VOA, it is broadcast via satellite stream by affiliates and on cable channels in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Previously, Aliyev was Director of RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service. Prior to joining RFE/RL in 2004, he worked in Washington, DC as a broadcaster for Voice of America and was also a regular contributor to the BBC World Service. He served as a Baku-based reporter for RFE/RL’s Russian Service wrote for the independent Azerbaijani newspaper "Azadliq" before immigrating to the US in 1997.

Kiryl Sukhotski

Kiryl Sukhotski is the Executive Editor for News at Current Time TV, RFE/RL's 24/7 channel aiming at the Russian-language audience in the region. He oversees all news and current affairs output from news bulletins at the top of the hour to longer evening shows, as well as special projects and breaking news coverage. Kiryl was born in Minsk, Belarus and got his MA in International Journalism from City University in London with a specialization in covering war conflicts. Prior to joining RFE/RL he had been the head of the regional Russia/CIS TV operation for Reuters and worked for the BBC in London and Moscow. Over his journalistic career he interviewed many presidents and prime ministers, CEOs, political activists and popular figures – from Hugo Chavez and Christine Lagarde to Madonna. He traveled to some 90 countries and is currently based in Prague.

Shahida Yakub

Shahida Yakub is the producer of “Behind The Scene,” a monthly show on investigative reporting around the world for Current Time, a Russian-language TV channel that brings independent news and information to Russian-speaking audiences worldwide. Yakub was instrumental in setting up the Current Time TV channel, as her job was to set up a network of reporters across Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltics. Shahida Yakub is an award-winning television and radio journalist who was a well-known presenter with the BBC’s Uzbek Service from 1996-2002, prior to her move to BBC Television. Her film “Airport Donetsk,” produced with Current Time, won first prize in the category of short documentaries in Moscow’s 2015 ArtDocFest film festival. She won the Prix Europa in 2006 for her film about the young opposition in Azerbaijan, “How to Plan a Revolution.” Her film about passport forgery in the EU, "My Fake Passports and Me," produced for BBC Panorama, has become a case study in investigative journalism. Yakub is a native of Tashkent, educated in Uzbekistan and Great Britain.

Expertise: Former Soviet Union, war zones

Press Freedom Issues

Joanna Levison

Joanna Levison is Director of Media and Public Affairs at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) with over 20 years of experience in international media relations and democracy promotion. Based in the company's headquarters in the Czech Republic, she is responsible for media promotion, outreach, fellowship programs, and journalists' advocacy, overseeing operations both in the company's Prague and Washington, D.C. offices. Before joining RFE/RL in 2009, Ms. Levison worked as a foreign policy officer for Iraq and the Middle East in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State. She previously worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, managing programs in the former Soviet Union, and consulted for the International Republican Institute. She has an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Gender Issues In The Media

Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson manages RFE/RL’s Lady Liberty project, which showcases the work of women journalists and women’s issues in RFE/RL’s broadcast region, and hosts the podcast Heard It From Her. Prior to joining RFE/RL in 2013, she worked as a freelance correspondent for several international media outlets, including Public Radio International and Global Post. Before that she worked as a writer and editor for The Prague Post and several other regional publications. She has an MA in philology from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and a BA in English and French literature from Kansas State University in the United States.

Georgia

David Kakabadze

David Kakabadze is the Director of RFE/RL’s Georgian Service, having joined the company in Munich in 1993. Earlier, Kakabadze was a Konrad Adenauer Foundation fellow at the University of Cologne, where he completed his PhD in German literature. He chaired the Goethe Cabinet at Tbilisi State University, and worked as an editor and correspondent in Tbilisi for several Georgian and Russian newspapers and magazines. Kakabadze’s writing on Georgian political events has appeared in numerous publications, especially in the German press, including Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and General-Anzeiger. He has translated works of German and English-language authors into Georgian, including Havel, Goethe, Schnitzler, Borchert, Kaschnitz, Botho Strauss, Bichsel, and Woolf.

Marina Vashakmadze

Marina Vashakmadze is RFE/RL’s Tbilisi Bureau Chief. Among her many roles, she also moderates Gender Stories, a one-of-a kind radio program dedicated to the discussion of women’s issues in Georgia. Vashakmadze’s other professional positions have included director of the journalism department at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, visiting professor at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication, and professor at the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA). Prior to joining RFE/RL, Vashakmadze served as director of the International Center for Journalists-Caucasus (CCFJ) and associate director of the Center’s ProMedia II project in support of investigative journalism, media law reform, and independent regional broadcasting. She has also founded, edited and consulted for several independent Georgian newspapers and magazines.

Expertise: Georgia, Radio Tavisupleba (Georgian Service), social issues, healthcare, education

Demis Polandov

Demis Polandov is a broadcaster and editor of RFE/RL’s Ekho Kavkaza unit, which produces Russian-language broadcasts for Georgia and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Prior to joining RFE/RL in 2009, Polandov served as deputy editor-in-chief for the Russian daily “Gazeta,” editor for the newspaper “Business,” and editor of the political and economic section for the weekly magazine “Russian Focus,” a join project with The Economist magazine. Polandov graduated from the Finance Academy of the Russian Federation with Bachelor’s degree n Finance and a Master’s degree in Social Sciences.

Koba Liklikadze

Koba Liklikadze is a journalist with RFE/RL’s Georgian Service specializing in military and security affairs. He previously worked as a senior reporter for the independent Georgian newspaper ‘Sakartvelo," where he covered the Georgian-Abkhazian war (1992-93) and the Georgian- Russian war (2008). He also worked as an embedded journalist with KFOR in Kosovo 1999 and with the U.S.-led Coalition Operation in Iraq. Liklikadze has published numerous articles and analytical pieces on military and national security issues in the Caucasus region for the Jamestown Foundation and the Institute For War and Peace Reporting.

Expertise: Security & Military, NATO affairs

Iran

Armand Mostofi

Armand Mostofi has been the Director of RFE/RL's Persian Language Service, Radio Farda, since 2010. Mostofi worked for several expatriate Iranian news outlets in Europe before joining RFE/RL as a broadcaster in January 2007, where he has served in all content-production roles including news writing, producing, reporting, moderating and editing. Mostofi holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tehran.

Niusha Boghrati

Niusha Boghrati is the editor-in-chief of Radio Farda, RFE/RL’s Persian Language Service. Boghrati joined RFE/RL in 2005, having worked for the Italian news agencies ADN Kronos International and IBER Press, and for the American online magazine World Press Review, covering issues relating to politics, culture, society, and international affairs. He began working as a journalist in Iran when he was 19, writing for "Iran Javan" magazine, which was later banned by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and later working as a Tehran-based correspondent for foreign news outlets. In Iran he also worked for the United Nations, and authored a book on jazz music, the first of its kind to be published in the country. Boghrati holds a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a post-graduate degree in journalism, both from Iran.

Hannah Kaviani

Hannah Kaviani joined Radio Farda, RFE/RL’s Persian language service, in February 2008. She covers a variety of topics in her reporting, with a special focus on Iran's Nuclear program. Between 2013 and 2015, she covered the Iran nuclear negotiations from the field in Geneva, Munich, Vienna, Lausanne, and New York. Her reporting currently focuses on Iran’s foreign policy and the post-nuclear deal era. Kaviani holds a Bachelor's degree in politics from Azad University in Tehran. Prior to joining RFE/RL, she interned with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. Before that she worked in Iran on projects for UNICEF, UNHCR, and UNDP, as well as for Atieh Bahar Consulting.

Kazakhstan

Torokul Doorov

Torokul Doorov is the Director of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service. He started his career with RFE/RL as a Moscow-based correspondent in 2002, later working for several years as program editor for the Kyrgyz Service’s Azattyk Plus youth program in Bishkek. Earlier, Doorov worked as a news correspondent and presenter for Kyrgyz National TV, and as a contributor to IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) and several Kyrgyz newspapers. Doorov has worked as a journalism trainer for the BBC, Bishkek Press Club, Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia, and some newspapers in Kyrgyzstan. He was born in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan and graduated from the Journalism Faculty of Moscow State University.

Assem Tokaeva

Assem Tokaeva is a web editor for Radio Azattyk, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service. She began her journalistic career working for the Interfax-Kazakhstan agency and then the newspaper “Express K” before joining RFE/RL in 2004. Tokaeva is a graduate of the Eurasian National University and the University of International Business. She completed a course at the Summer Academy of the International Institute of Journalism in Hamburg in 2005.

Expertise: Kazakhstan, human rights, domestic politics, political immigrants

Galym Bokash

Galym Bokash is an Online Producer and Senior Editor for RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service. Before joining RFE/RL, Bokash was News Director and Vice President of the Kazakh National TV & Radio Broadcasting Corporation. His professional background includes working as a Special Correspondent to Pakistan for the Khabar TV channel, political columnist at the “Qazaq Adebieti” weekly newspaper, and author and host of Mezgil, a weekly political show on the TV channel Qazaqstan. Among many distinctions, Bokash has been called “one of the most quoted Kazakh journalists,” while receiving the Independent Journalism Academy’s Golden Star Award, Daryn State Youth Award, and a Presidential Award for media excellence in Kazakhstan. He is a co-author of the documentary The Chronicle of the Lost Light, depicting the life of ethnic Kazakhs under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. In addition to his journalistic work, he held the posts of Vice-Mayor of Almaty and Minister-Counsellor of the Kazakh Embassy in Tehran. Bokash has an M.Phil. in Modern South Asian studies from Oxford University, post-graduate diploma in Development Studies from SOAS, London University, and a Master’s degree in Oriental Studies from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.

Kyrgyzstan

Venera Djumataeva

Venera Djumataeva is the Director of RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service. In her current capacity and earlier as a broadcaster for the Service and free-lancer in Bishkek, she has covered major events in Central Asia and international topics relating to Kyrgyzstan and the region at large. Earlier, she worked for Bishkek’s Radio "Mir," and contributed to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Djumataeva’s articles on Kyrgyz and Central Asian politics and social issues have been published in many of Kyrgyzstan’s independent newspapers, including “Res Publica,” “Slovo Kyrgystana,” “Erkin-Too,” “De-Facto,” “Tribuna,” and “Agym.” She is frequently invited to provide expertise at the Bishkek Press Club, and for interviews on Czech and Turkish television. Djumataeva graduated from the History Faculty at Kyrgyz State University and has a post-graduate degree from Kyrgyz National University.

Gulaiym Ashakeeva

Gulaiym Ashakeeva is a web editor with RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service. She joined RFE/RL in 2005 as a freelance contributor in both the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan before moving to RFE/RL’s Prague headquarters in 2010. Ashakeeva reported from the field in Kyrgyzstan during the 2010 political crisis and ethnic clashes. She has worked with the United Nations Environment Program, conducted research on water security in Central Asia for the Budapest-based Open Society Institute and Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and served as an international project coordinator for the UNDP-supported “Democratization in Kyrgyzstan” project. Ashakeeva holds a diploma in Chemistry and Technology from Kyrgyz National University in Bishkek, and a Master’s degree in International Peace Studies from the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica.

Expertise: Political systems and analysis of Central Asia, Environmental Security in Central Asia

Moldova

Oana Serafim

Oana Serafim is the Director of RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service. She was earlier the director of the joint Romanian-Moldova Service until, following Romania’s accession to the European Union in 2007, RFE/RL discontinued its Romanian broadcasts in 2008. Prior to joining RFE/RL, Serafim worked as a broadcaster for the Romanian Service of the BBC World Service. A 1979 graduate of Romania's National Academy for Film and Theatre, she has also worked at the National Film Archive in Bucharest.

Radu Benea

Radu Benea is the host of “Transdniester Dialogues,” a weekly program produced by RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service that explores key developments in Moldova and the breakaway region of Transdniester, and a veteran journalist with the Service since 1997. He has served as chief of the Service’s Chisinau bureau, and an expert commentator during election campaigns for Chisinau’s popular television channel ProTV. Benea is a graduate of the Faculty of History and Philosophy at Babes Bolyai State University in Romania’s second-largest city, Cluj-Napoca, and has taught at the School of Advanced Journalism in Chisinau.

Expertise: Politics, Economics, Transdniester conflict

Vasile Botnaru

Vasile Botnaru has served as Chisinau bureau chief for RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service since 2004. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Botnaru helped found Moldova’s first independent news agency, “BASA-press,” which he owned and led from 1993 to 2003. During this same period, he also worked as a freelance correspondent for RFE/RL’s Russian Service. Botnaru began his journalism career after graduating from Moscow State University in 1980, working for numerous print, radio, news agency, and television outlets in Moldova. In 2016, he was awarded Romania’s National Order for Faithful Service, in the rank of commander. In 2015, readers of a leading magazine named him the “most trusted opinion maker in Moldova.” The same poll had earlier ranked him among Moldova’s 50 most influential people. In 2011, Botnaru was awarded Moldova’s highest civilian national award, the Order of the Republic.

North Caucasus

Aslan Doukaev

Aslan Doukaev has served as Director of RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service since the service was created in 2002, overseeing the production of independent news and analysis to audiences in the Chechen, Avar, and Circassian languages. (RFE/RL discontinued broadcasts in the latter two languages in 2016.) Prior to joining RFE/RL, Doukaev worked as a commentator and university lecturer in the Netherlands and the U.K. with a focus on security issues and Russian policies in the North Caucasus. Doukaev holds a PhD from Moscow State University.

Valery Dzutsati

Valery Dzutsati is a journalist with RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service, which provides independent news coverage of the Russian North Caucasus region. Previously, Valery was a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation in Washington, D.C., covering developments in the North Caucasus for the Eurasia Daily Monitor electronic publication. From 2002-2007, Valery was based in Vladikavkaz and coordinated media development activities for the non-profit Institute for War and Peace Reporting in the North Caucasus. Valery holds a BA in History from North Ossetia State University, an MPP from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is working toward completion of a Ph.D. in political science at Arizona State University. His research interests extend to ethnic and religious conflict, secession, and Russian and Eurasian history. Valery’s scientific articles appeared in Nationalities Papers, Politics and Religion, Post-Soviet Affairs, Social Science Quarterly, and Caucasus Survey.

Pakistan

Amin Mudaqiq

Amin Mudaqiq is the Director of RFE/RL's service to Pakistan's tribal regions, Radio Mashaal. Mudaqiq former served as Kabul bureau chief for RFE/RL's Afghan Service from 2004 to 2011. Prior to joining RFE/RL, he worked in the U.S. consulate in Peshawar as an Information Assistant, and as editor of "Ittilaat," the U.S. government's Dari/Pashto publication.

Daud Khattak

Daud Khattak is Senior Editor of RFE/RL's Pakistan Service, known as Radio Mashaal. Prior to joining RFE/RL, Khattak worked in Kabul as editor for Afghanistan's daily “Pajhwok Afghan News.” He has worked for London’s “Sunday Times” and for the Pakistani English dailies “The News International” and “The Daily Times,” covering Talibanization in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and the anti-Taliban military operations in Pakistan’s north. His analyses of the Pakistani Taliban and terrorism have been published by “The Christian Science Monitor,” “CTC Sentinel,” and The AfPak Channel, a special project of “Foreign Policy” and the New America Foundation. Khattak’s work also appears regularly on RFE/RL's "Gandhara" blog. More recently he has written on secularism in Pakistan, regional interference in Pakistan and peace talks with the Taliban. Khattak’s recently-completed research project on “Democracy and Pakistan’s Tribal Society” is being translated into Czech and will be published in 2016.

Expertise: Pakistan, Terrorism, Ethnic Issues

Alamzeb Khan

Alamzeb Khan is the bureau chief in Islamabad for RFE/RL’s service to Pakistan, Radio Mashaal, managing a team of 21 journalists in the conflict ridden Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the tribal regions on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. During his career, Khan has also worked for the daily “Frontier Post,” the English-language Daily Khyber Mail, and Asian Vision Television in Peshawar and Islamabad, As an assignment editor with Khyber News Islamabad he coordinated a network of journalists and covered issues ignored by the mainstream media. Khan has also worked as a freelancer for a number of national and international media outlets and contributed exclusive reports to the “Christian Science Monitor.” Khan studied social work and graduated from the University of Peshawar in 2003.

Russia

Andrey Shary

Andrey Shary is the Director of RFE/RL’s Russian Service, known as Radio Svoboda. He originally joined the organization in 1992, serving as a Croatia-based freelance contributor covering the former Yugoslavia. Since 1996, he has worked for the Service at RFE/RL’s Prague headquarters as a moderator, editor, and deputy director. Earlier, Shary worked at several newspapers in Moscow and was published in Russian and European media. He has authored and co-authored 13 non-fiction books, including work on the contemporary history of former Yugoslavia, and research on countries in central and southeastern Europe. He graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations with a degree in International Journalism.

Expertise: Russia, domestic politics, foreign policy

Irina Lagunina

Irina Lagunina is a senior journalist and editor of special projects for RFE/RL's Russian Service, known as Radio Svoboda. Lagunina served as director of the Russian Service until 2016 and was a host of the daily analytical radio journal “Time & World,” covering international relations, world politics, security, economic and energy issues. Before joining RFE/RL in 1995, she worked as the foreign policy and diplomatic editor for the Russian magazine “New Times” and the newspaper “Moscow News.” She was in the media pool of the Russian Foreign Ministry, covering the end of the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and ethnic conflicts in the former Soviet Union. Lagunina’s analytical writing has appeared in several compendiums, including “Perils of Perestroika: Viewpoints from the Soviet Press, 1989-1991,” and the 1999 study “Kosovo News & Propaganda War” by The International Press Institute in Austria. She has been interviewed by National Public Radio, the BBC, and other western media.

Mikhail Sokolov

Mikhail Sokolov is a political analyst, historian, and producer of the program “Face the Event” with RFE/RL’s Russian Service. Since 1990 Sokolov has worked with the Russian Service as a correspondent, analyst, and producer of the programs “Elections," “Time of Politics,” and “Life Continuity.” Sokolov graduated with a degree in journalism from Moscow State University and got his Ph.D in history at the Historical Archives Institute of the Russian State Humanities University. He is the author of studies on the history of Russian emigration in the 20th century and the book The Temptation of Activism: Russian Republican-Democratic Emigration in the 20s and 30s.

Sergey Khazov-Cassia

Sergey Khazov-Cassia is a special correspondent for RFE/RL's Russian Service since 2015. He was born in Leningrad in 1980 and graduated from the Journalism School of Moscow State University. Before joining RFE/RL, Khazov-Cassia worked as a special correspondent for The New Times magazine in Moscow. Sergey was a laureate of the European Press Prize in 2013 and of the Nationwide Contest for Young Foreign-Affairs Journalists in 2014. His spheres of interest include minorities, grassroots activism, LGBT rights, feminism, the Russian judicial system, and issues related to Russian law enforcement agencies. He is an author of two novels: Another Childhood and Gospel From. He is fluent in English and French.

Expertise: minorities, grassroots activism, LGBT rights, feminism, and the Russian judicial system

Jaroslav Shimov

Jaroslav Shimov has been a journalist with RFE/RL's Russian Service, based in Prague, since 1999. He specializes in Russian foreign policy, Central and Eastern European politics and history, and Russian relations in the region. Shimov was born in Belarus and studied history and journalism at Moscow State University. He has published three books on the history of the Hapsburg Empire and its successor states.

Tajikistan

Sojida Djakhfarova

Sojida Djakhfarova has been Director of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, since 2009. She previously served as director of the Uzbek Service. Djakhfarova joined RFE/RL in 1996 as a Moscow correspondent, becoming head of RFE/RL’s bureau in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the next year. She has a degree in philology from Tajik State University, and expertise in the areas of domestic politics, terrorism, regional security and relations, human rights, and the role of women in public life.

  • Location: Prague Headquarters
  • DjakhfarovaS@rferl.org
  • +420 221 122 326

Khiromon Bakoeva

Khiromon Bakoeva is an editor with RFE/RL’s Tajik service, known locally as Radio Ozodi. Having joined the Service in 2003, she currently edits its Russian-language website, a platform that provides news and analysis for Russian speakers inside the country and Tajik migrant laborers abroad. She also moderates the Service’s Perekrestok show, a TV program analyzing issues in Central Asia. She earlier launched a successful youth program for the Service, drawing on a talented team of young journalists in Tajikistan. Prior to joining RFE/RL, Bakoeva worked as a reporter for the private news agency Asia-Plus, and was a coordinator at the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Dushanbe office. She graduated from Tajik State University with a degree in philology.

Expertise: Tajikistan, Politics, Womens issues

Salimjon Aioubov

Salimjon Aioubov, a senior broadcaster with RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, is also Project Director for RFE/RL’s Central Asian Newswire, a platform that aggregates original RFE/RL reporting and other information for Central Asian media seeking independent news. Aioubov has worked for numerous Tajik print, radio, and television outlets over the course of two decades, covering the civil war in Tajikistan and UN-mediated inter-Tajik peace talks and refugee issues resulting from the war, Organization of Islamic Cooperation conferences, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization summits. He has produced two short documentaries on Tajik issues, "Mi, Pereselentsi" (1986) and "Perpetual Returning" (1989), and published several books, most recently, “A Hundred Colors: Tajiks in the 20th Century" (Amsterdam, 2004). He graduated from Tajik State University in 1982 with a B.A. in journalism.

Tatar-Bashkir

Rim Gilfanov

Rim Gilfanov has been the Director of RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service since 2006. He began reporting for the Service in 1990 as a stringer and later as a broadcaster covering ethnic and religious minority issues. Gilfanov previously wrote for the Kazan newspaper "Donya," and has published several books, including "Tatar Diaspora" (Kazan, 1993) and "Tatar Way in Reforming Islam" (Prague, April 2003). He is frequently interviewed by local Tatar media outlets. Gilfanov is a 1991 graduate of Kazan State University with a degree in sociology and political science.

Alsu Kurmasheva

Alsu Kurmasheva is an editor with RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service and manager of its new regional, Russian-language micro-site. Having joined RFE/RL in 1998, she focuses her reporting on issues within the Volga Tatar, Bashkir, and Crimean Tatar communities, with a special emphasis on ethnic and religious minority rights. Kurmasheva is regularly invited to provide expert analysis on these topics at international conferences and seminars, and her work has been published in U.S. and European media. She holds a B.A. in English and Turkish philology from Kazan Federal University in Tatarstan and a Bachelor of Business Administration from New York University in Prague.

Turkmenistan

Farruh Yusupov

Farruh Yusupov is Acting Director of RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service. He originally joined RFE/RL in 2004, working as an editor with the Uzbek Service and providing major contributions to its investigative work, including a series of reports on corruption involving members of Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s family. Yusupov also launched several radio programs for the Uzbek Service, including “Health,” “The Other Side of the Coin,” and “OzodNavigator.” His 2007 radio documentary, “Uzbekistan and its Neighbors After Andijon,” was nominated for an AIB award. Before joining RFE/RL, Yusupov worked for USAID-funded projects in Uzbekistan. He has an M.A. in Linguistics from Ferghana State University, Uzbekistan.

Ukraine

Maryana Drach

Maryana Drach is the Director of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, overseeing the Service’s award-winning coverage of the country’s 2013-2014 Maidan demonstrations and developments since. She also hosts the Service’s daily radio program “Liberty Today,” which explores key developments in Ukraine and on the international scene. A native of Kyiv, Drach joined the service in 1996, specializing in international affairs. She earned an undergraduate degree in international studies from Roosevelt University and holds a graduate degree in in Public Administration from the Institute of Public Administration and Local Government in Ukraine.

Natalia Churikova

Natalia Churikova is a senior editor with RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service. Churikova joined RFE/RL in 1995 as an economic correspondent with an interest in foreign policy, especially European and Euro-Atlantic integration. In 2005, she started a program “European Liberty,” which later became the interactive “Europe Connect” project, which explored topics relevant to Ukraine’s move towards Europe. In 2007, Churikova led RFE/RL-wide peer training efforts, providing mentoring and instruction to dozens of staff and free-lance journalists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the North Caucasus, Moldova, Tatarstan and Ukraine. Early in her career, she won a Sander Thoenes Fellowship at The Financial Times, earning the opportunity to report for the FT in London, Brussels and Frankfurt. Churikova has commented on Ukrainian issues for Czech media and at international conferences.

Expertise: Ukraine-EU relations, ethnic and religious relations in Ukraine

Natalie Sedletska

Natalie Sedletska is an award-winning investigative journalist and host of “Schemes: Corruption in Details,” a weekly program of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service and Ukrainian First National TV channel. In 2013 she was awarded a Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship to work with RFE/RL in Prague, a program sponsored by the Czech Foreign Ministry and RFE/RL. From 2009-2013, Sedletska was a correspondent for Ukraine’s TVi channel, where she worked on such programs as “Tender News,” a hard-hitting program reporting on corruption and public procurement. She was also an investigator and coordinator for the YanukovychLeaks initiative during 2014. Sedletska is a member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, and the Stop Censorship journalism movement in Ukraine.

Expertise: Ukraine, anti-corruption issues

Rostyslav Khotin

Rostyslav Khotin joined RFE/RL in 2014 and is now Senior Editor of the Ukrainian Service. He covers in particular Ukraine's foreign policy, Kyiv's relations with the EU and NATO, Ukrainian-Russian relations, international efforts to resolve conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the stand-off over Crimea, Eastern and Central Europe as well as Ukraine-US relations, and developments in the new independent states in post-Soviet territory. Before moving to Prague he worked in Brussels as a Correspondent for 1+1 TV Channel and UNIAN news agency covering the EU and NATO, prior to which he worked as Editor at the BBC World Service in London. In the 1990s he worked in Kyiv for Reuters news agency as Ukraine/Belarus/Moldova Correspondent and traveled extensively across the region -- from the Baltics to Caucasus and Central Asia. Rostyslav is a graduate of Kyiv State University.

Andriy Dikhtiarenko

Andriy Dikhtiarenko is a journalist and host for Donbas.Realities, a weekly program of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service and Ukrainian 112 TV channel. Dikhtiarenko is also the editor of Letters From Occupied Donbas, a blog platform of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service for people who live in the territory under control of Russian-backed forces in the Donbas region since 2014. Andriy specializes in the zone of conflict in Eastern Ukraine, and in problems of internally displaced people. He investigates life, economics, and policy in the territory under control of Russian-backed forces in the Donbas region. Andriy Dikhtiarenko is Chief Editor of Luhansk media Realnaja Gazeta since 2013.

Expertise: Donbas, hybrid war

Uzbekistan

Alisher Siddique

Alisher Siddique is the Director of RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service, overseeing the Service’s pioneering efforts to use the latest digital platforms to break the information blockade in one of the world’s most closed societies. Siddique reported on the Andijon massacre in Uzbekistan in 2005, and earlier worked for the BBC’s Uzbek service in Tashkent and London. He was named “Journalist of the Year” by the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders-Stockholm in 2005. He has been quoted as an expert by the International Crisis Group, and frequently invited to speak about developments in Uzbekistan by international media and think tanks. Siddique holds an M.A. and B.A. in Middle East Politics and Arabic from the University of Oriental Studies, Tashkent, although his M.A. diploma was withheld because of his association with the BBC.

XS
SM
MD
LG