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RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service: Radio Svoboda

Radio Svoboda is dedicated to covering all of Ukraine, including the conflict zones and Crimea, and sets a standard for balanced reporting and high-impact investigative journalism.

Fast Facts

  • RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda, provides accurate and balanced coverage of local, regional, and national news and events. Operating out of its Kyiv bureau with a reporting network that extends to the front lines, it is available on its website, social networks, radio, and TV.
  • The service is distinguished for its award-winning investigative TV program Schemes, whose high-impact reporting on corruption among Ukraine’s political elites has informed official investigations, led to high-level dismissals, and promoted greater public accountability in Ukraine. In 2018 episodes were viewed 2.5 million times.
  • The service’s Crimea.Realities website, launched in 2014 following Crimea’s annexation by Russia, is one of the peninsula’s only independent news sources and is unique in reporting in the Ukrainian, Russian, and Crimean Tatar languages. In 2018, it received on average 1.7 million monthly visits.
  • The Donbas.Realities unit provides exclusive reporting from the frontlines of Russia-backed separatist territories in eastern Ukraine.
  • Reporters with the Ukrainian Service work at considerable risk. RFE/RL contributor Stanislav Aseyev has been held virtually incommunicado by separatists in Donetsk since June 2017 on accusations of espionage. In September 2017, a Russian court in Crimea handed RFE/RL contributor Mykola Semena a 2 1/2-year suspended sentence on charges of separatism, and banned him from writing. Members of the Schemes team have been subjected to verbal abuse and assault while on assignment.
  • In press freedom rankings, Ukraine is designated Partly Free by Freedom House with a score of 111/198; Crimea is designated not free (195/198). The Committee to Protect Journalists and other rights monitors have deplored the monopolization of the media by oligarchs, the targeting of journalists in conflict zones, intimidation of journalists, and impunity of perpetrators of crimes against them.


January – December, 2018

  • Website: 4 million visits and 6.6 million-page views
  • Facebook: 376,000 followers and 1.6 million engaged users
  • YouTube: 3.8 million monthly video views

Updated: April 2019

Facts & Stats about Ukraine

  • Population: 44.83 million (World Bank estimate, 2017)
  • Most Common Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, Crimean Tartar, Yiddish
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 111 out of 198 (2017)​
  • Crimea--Not Free, ranked 195 out of 198 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 102 out of 180 (2019)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 120 out of 180 (2018)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 152 out of 163 (2018)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Ukraine (2019)
  • Amnesty International: Ukraine Report (2017/2018)

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