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Russians upset over loss of Radio Liberty

Jan. 4, 2013 at 7:04 PM

MOSCOW, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Russian listeners of American-financed Radio Liberty say they are disappointed the station, which had been on-air since 1953, is no longer available.

Radio Liberty lost its licensing in November when a 2011 Russian law preventing foreign ownership came into effect, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President and Chief Executive Officer Steven Korn resigned Dec. 31, effective Jan. 25.

Korn cited family reasons for leaving the station, but acknowledged his departure could be interpreted as a victory by critics.

"I understand the nostalgia," he said, "but it's not our fault."

Listeners, meanwhile, say they have been disappointed.

Marina Zherdeva, 66, said she listened to Radio Liberty "since before it was allowed."

"It had news, culture, political topics, wonderful programs you couldn't find anywhere else," Zherdeva said.

Radio Liberty will still be available online via partnerships with a few other independent sites, including TV Rain, an online television channel, said Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen.

"It's extremely easy to shut off access to a single Web site," Gessen said. "We need to have a lot of alternative ways to get our content out."

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