Playlist · by dave.zerifive
6 episodes, 2 hours 54 mins
The Fall of the Soviet Union
The end is nigh! As the Soviet Union veered from attempted military coup to total collapse in 1991, we trace the role which Radio Liberty played in documenting and influencing these tumultuous events. In looking at Radio Liberty’s decision to broadcasting Boris Yeltsin’s speeches during the August coup, as well as the somewhat bewilderedRadio Liberty broadcasts which went out as the Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991, we conclude the series with an attempt to summarize Radio Liberty’s impact on the course of these extraordinary historical events, and upon the very nature of the Cold War itself.
The Nuclear Accident in Chernobyl
The nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986 was not just a catastrophic event in terms of its effect upon the environment and the health of those who lived nearby. Some claim that the media coverage of the disaster, and particularly that by Radio Liberty, contributed to the introduction of radical reforms within the Soviet Union that changed it forever – and perhaps even hastened its eventual downfall. In this episode, we will assess those claims and show how important Radio Liberty’s place within the Soviet media consumer’s life had become by the Gorbachev era.
The Helsinki Accords of 1975
How did RL adapt to the political shifts of the 1970s, the rise of “détente” and the emergence of human rights as a key narrative affecting the relationship between Communist governments, the West, and the populations of the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc? This episode delves into the ways in which RL covered the world of dissidents, freedom of speech trials and underground literature in the Soviet Union, as well as telling you everything you’ve always wanted to know about the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, but were afraid to ask.
The Death of Stalin
The Death of Stalin was a key moment in Cold War history, creating new possibilities but also new uncertainties in the difficult post-war relationship between the US and the Soviet Union. It took place on March 5th, 1953, just 4 days after Radio Liberty started broadcasting. How do you cover the death of your greatest enemy for maximum propaganda effect when broadcasting to an audience raised to idolize him? And you how do you handle his legacy moving forward? This episode takes a look at how Radio Liberty handled this test in its formative years.
Yuri Gagarin and the Space Race
If you’re an American radio station broadcasting to the Soviet Union, how do you address the awkward fact that the Communists are winning the space race? This episode focuses on Radio Liberty’s discussion of technology, progress and co-operation through a 1968 programme commemorating the death of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, and shows just how much thinking had evolved since RL’s earliest years about how best to persuade and influence its audience in the Soviet Union.
The War in Vietnam
This episode focuses on another source of extreme embarrassment for US foreign policy – the war in Vietnam – and explores the ways in which RL’s coverage of the war tried to address and minimize the damage to the US’s reputation that Soviet media coverage of the war was spreading across the Soviet population.
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