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(November 11, 2014 Screen capture from Sputnik news agency and radio)
As some attentive SWLing Post readers have noted, the Voice of Russia has found a new identity–Sputnik News Agency and Radio–with a new website/news portal to match. Here’s the message the (former) Voice of Russia posted on their website today:
“Dear readers, we are excited to announce that the Voice of Russia is changing its name and moving over to a new website. We will now be known as Sputnik news agency and radio. You can find all the latest stories from our London bureau here: http://uk.sputniknews.com. Please update your bookmarks and stay with us!”
I thought, perhaps, these were schedules posted prior to VOR leaving the air, but Stephen notes that VOR has posted and made constant changes to their B14 schedules as well. Stephen follows schedules closely as he has a websiteand app devoted to shortwave radio schedules.
This does seem like a lot of effort if VOR has no intention of returning to the shortwaves.
Stephen also points to this article which mentions that Russia may be bringing back shortwave and a new body might be in charge of operations.
I suspect if VOR is returning to shortwave, it is in reaction to the recent changes at the Voice of America/Radio Liberty and the promise that HR4490 might increase a pro-US presence on the air.
In the end, we might not know until VOR actually resumes shortwave broadcasts.
Facing legal problems, the Russian government-funded radio network — the Voice of Russia — has fired its Washington bureau staff and closed the office.
The shutdown happened Monday, amid allegations of tax fraud and claims of racial discrimination at the network.
Alexei Iazlovsky, the head of the VOR’s U.S. operations, pleaded guilty last year to tax fraud and will be sentenced later this year.
VOR’s employment practices also have attracted attention from the IRS and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The IRS is investigating whether VOR used contractors alongside full-time, salaried employees to skirt payroll taxes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took an interest in VOR after several former staffers claimed they were fired because of their race.
The employees have filed a lawsuit against International TV Services, VOR’s contract manager in the United States.
Some suspect Voice of Russia will quickly return to the U.S. through a different management company without the legal troubles.
Earlier this year, the Russians stopped Voice of America broadcasting in Moscow on AM radio.
UPDATE: I seriously question this VOR twitter account’s authenticity. @VORMoscow looks to be very new, starting on March 19, 2014–the same day VOR announced an end to its shortwave service–obviously not an official VOR account. Either this is a disgruntled VOR staffer posing as VOR English, or (most likely) a VOR listener. By 5:30 UTC on March 22, 2014 @VORMoscow was removed from Twitter:
Two days ago we learn that the Voice of Russia plans to end all shortwave and medium wave broadcasts as of April 1, 2014.
Yesterday, SWLing Post reader Juan Kulichevsky, noticed this tweet from the new Twitter account @VORMoscow:
Then, about ten hours ago, I notice this tweet among other VOR news items from @VORMoscow:
By 5:30 UTC on March 22, 2014, @VORMoscow posted this final tweet before the account was removed from Twitter: