Hoover’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Russian Service Archive Now Available Online

Thursday, June 2, 2016
RFE/RL Corporate Records, Box 100, Folder 39, Hoover Institution Archives

Hoover’s extensive Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Russian Service (Radio Svoboda) holdings are now available through an online database built in collaboration with the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (OSA).

Today Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) hailed the publication of the online, fully searchable database of the Radio Svoboda audio programs as a “shining example of cooperation and commitment” between RFE/RL, OSA, and the Hoover Institution Archives. RFE/RL Editor-in-Chief and Acting CEO Nenad Pejic commented, “Today, when Russians are again turning to RFE/RL and Radio Svoboda to discover the news the Kremlin seeks to deny them, these archived programs take on a new and deeper meaning.” The archive offers a unique window into the political and cultural life of the Russian people and the Soviet Union. It includes more than 26,000 audio clips, and reflects a wide variety of audio programs broadcast into the Soviet Union and Russian Federation by RFE/RL’s Russian Service, from its earliest days in 1953 to 1995.

Highlights of the collection include news and political programs about the U.S.S.R. and the world, as reported by the insightful émigré journalists, writers and historians at RFE/RL, as well as literary readings, unpublished in the Soviet Union, that include poetry recitals and radio plays authored by such luminaries of Russian letters as Solzhenitsyn, Nekrasov, Brodsky, Voinovich, Ginzburg. Some of the works only exist as broadcast recordings featuring the unique voices of these great writers. Radio Svoboda (as the station was known within the Soviet Union) also systematically collected, published and aired special clandestine publications—samizdat—that brought news about trials, imprisonments, lost and won battles for human rights and dignity from behind the Iron Curtain. Other highlights include talk shows that made available via the radio to Soviet audiences the brilliant and witty crème de la crème of exile Russian culture.

Cooperation on this project between RFE/RL, the Hoover Institution Archives, and OSA started in 2014.  Public access to the archival collections at Hoover expanded significantly in 2015, with updated finding aids for both the broadcast and corporate archives now available in the Online Archive of California. Offering free and unlimited on-line access to this collection of more than ten thousand hours of Russian Service broadcasts facilitates free and critical thinking, as well as encourages research and analyses of the Soviet-era culture and politics.