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About the Service

Originally established in 1954, Radio Svaboda reports news to a closed society from Prague and a new bureau in Vilnius, Lithuania.  

Narrative podcast “Lukashenka’s Lackeys” is extremely popular with over 600,000 plays.  

Uncovered Lukashenka regime’s participation in Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine.  

Broke news of Russia’s troop build-up in Belarus in advance of the Ukraine invasion.

Investigated heavy Russian losses in Ukraine based on information about the dead or wounded in Belarusian hospitals and morgues. Reported on railway guerrillas and anti-war protests inside the country.

Reaching Audiences

Media Climate

Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index ranks Belarus 157th of 180 countries.  

RFE/RL journalists Ihar Losik and Andrey Kuznechyk are unjustly imprisoned on fabricated charges by the regime, which seeksto silence independent journalism.  

Losik was added to the terrorist watchlist in June 2022, which RFE/RL then-President and CEO Jamie Fly called “an egregious abuse of the state’s authority and underlines the Lukashenka regime’s contempt for journalists who expose the truth.” Losik’s wife Darya was arrested and sentenced to two years in a penal colony in January 2023. 

RFE/RL award-winning journalist Aleh Hruzdzilovich was arrested in 2021 and tried for “taking part” in mass protests in the aftermath of Lukashenka’s fraudulent re-election while covering the events as a reporter. Sentenced to a penal colony, but Aleh was released in September 2022 after serving nine months. 

In December 2021, RFE/RL was designated an “extremist organization” by Belarus’ Interior Ministry, criminalizing the reporting, distribution, and consumption of RFE/RL content. Belarusian subscribers face up to six years in prison for accessing RFE/RL content.  

In August 2020, Radio Svaboda websites were blocked. In July 2021, Radio Svaboda’s Minsk bureau was raided and sealed.  


Jerzy Giedroyc Prize

Awarded 2022 Jerzy Giedroyc Prize for Liberty Library’s book “Unknown Minsk”. 

David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award

Radio Svaboda’s imprisoned journalists received 2022 David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award. 

Media Center

Latest Updates

Russia Extends Detention of Alsu Kurmasheva; Her Imprisonment “As Outrageous Today as It Was Six Months Ago”

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) condemns the latest extension of American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva’s pretrial detention.

Usha Chaudhary, Vance Serchuk Join RFE/RL’s Board of Directors

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is pleased to welcome Usha Chaudhary and Vance Serchuk to its Board of Directors.

Family of Detained RFE/RL Journalist Alsu Kurmasheva Meets Top Biden Aides, Lawmakers, Hostage Advocates in Washington, D.C.

The husband and children of American RFE/RL journalist Alsu Kurmasheva—who is spending her 150th day in a Russian prison—spent a productive week in Washington, D.C.

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