The KGB agent at RFE/RL, and other Free Europe history.

Posted: 05 Feb 2010   Print   Send a link
"Soviet Intelligence officer Viktor P. Gundarev defected to the West in Athens, Greece, on Friday, February 14, 1986. ... His defection, though interesting in many respects, did not at first glance affect RFE/RL. However, Gundarev’s defection events that led to the unmasking of KGB agents in Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Apparently fearing arrest, RFE/RL Russian Service employee Oleg Tumanov, one KGB agent at RFE/RL, fled Germany seeking advice from the KGB. He was told to return to Munich but the pressure of being exposed as a KGB agent was too great on him, and he asked to return to the USSR. ... The investigation into his activities at Radio Liberty for almost 20 years showed that Tumanov stole personnel lists and background information on Radio Liberty’s Russian Service personnel, among other tasking. ... A Soviet propaganda film 'Radio Divisiant' about Radio Liberty appeared in 1974 and some on the documents Tumanov supplied to the KGB were shown in the film." Richard Cummings, Historytimes.com, undated January 2010.
     "Over 100 pen-and-ink drawings, oil paintings and sketches by celebrated local artist Louis Lehtonen (1930-2001) are on display at the Port Jefferson Village Center through Feb. 26. ... Lehtonen served as deputy director of Radio Free Europe in London... ." He died in 2001. Times Beacon Record, 20 January 2010. Back on 20 January, I was not able to confirm that Mr. Lehtonen had such a position at RFE. Richard Cummings found out that he actually worked for the Free Europe Committee, from 1963 to 1965, as Assistant to the Director, FEC West European Operations Division, London. Ross Johnson informs me: "In organizational terms, the Free Europe Committee, Inc. (initially it had other names, National Committee for a Free Europe, etc.) was the parent corporation. RFE was the major operating division, alongside the Free Europe Press, the National Councils Division initially, and other divisions."
     See also Richard Cummings' early history of Radio Liberty, Historytimes.com, 20 January 2010, and photos of the aftermath of the February 21, 1981, bombing of the RFE/RL Munich headquarters, Historytimes.com, 5 February 2010.
     "Much of what [Roman Kupchinsky] did in the cold war is still secret. ... He campaigned for political prisoners and fought hard in the information war against Soviet rule in Ukraine. ... He edited a gripping fortnightly digest on crime and corruption in the ex-Soviet region for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. (For readers who know that outfit only in its pale modern incarnation, a trip into the archives is recommended.)" The Economist, 28 January 2010. I don't think there is anything "pale" about RFE/RL's present-day reporting about Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Central Asia, Iran, etc. See previous post about Roman Kupchinsky. See/hear also an audio-visual tribute to Kupchinsky at www.radiosvoboda.org.