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About the Service

Despite censorship, Radio Azatliq is an entirely digital alternative to Russian state-controlled media, reporting in local languages and reaching audiences in the Volga-Ural region despite censorship since 1953.  

Idel.Realii covers public corruption, religious extremism, and environmental issues. 

Multimedia project “Eide!Online” teaches modern Tatar language online in response to increased Kremlin pressure to limit use of Tatar.  

Produced a special visual project on Russian war casualties. Published a book “Saying No to War,” featuring 40 Russians telling stories of resistance amid harsh sentences. 

Published investigative reports on “ethnic battalions” that the Russian regime formed to fight in Ukraine. 

Monitors and maps rising Chinese influence with a microsite.   

Four million people viewed the Service’s project about domestic violence and its effects. 

Reaching Audiences

Media Climate

Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index ranks Russia 164th out of 180 countries. 

Radio Azatliq journalist Alsu Kurmasheva has been detained in Kazan, Russia, since October 18, 2023, while visiting her elderly, ailing mother. 

Journalists frequently are subjected to harassment and threats; many freelancers are forced to leave the country for their safety.  

Multiple contributors have been labeled as foreign agents. Police in Kazan, Russia searched homes of several freelancers and briefly detained them in August 2022. 

Websites and social media accounts have been blocked or restricted.  

Media Center

Latest Updates

Central Asia in Focus: Many Problems Surround Bishkek Violence on May 17-18

In this week’s edition: South Asian students in Bishkek are targeted during a night of violence, Kazakh flood victims are frustrated with the state’s slow response, and more.

Clamping Down On Religious Freedom In Central Asia

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) just released its annual report on freedom of religion in the world.

Journalists in Trouble: President Biden Calls for Alsu Kurmasheva’s Release

President Biden calls for Alsu Kurmasheva’s release; RFE/RL hosts World Press Freedom Day reception with families of imprisoned journalists; and more.

Service Director

Rim Gilfanov

Rim Gilfanov is the Service Director of RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service, known locally as Radio Azatliq. 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 graduated from Kazan State University in 1991 with a degree in sociology and political science. 

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