Media in Russia are reporting that leaders of Helsinki human rights groups in Russia and the Czech Republic have appealed to former Solidarity labor union leader and Poland’s former president Lech Walesa to help them defend the rights of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) journalists who had been fired in Moscow on orders of RFE/RL president Steven Korn and the rights of foreign-born employees in Prague whom the RFE/RL management has denied labor law protections for many years.
Lyudmila Alexeeva, chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group and Anna Sabatova, chairwoman of the Czech Helsinki Committee have written letters to Lech Walesa asking him to use his influence and moral authority to convince U.S. government officials, including members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency in charge of RFE/RL, to reverse the decision to fire Russian journalists in Moscow and to stop discriminating against foreign-born journalists working for RFE/RL in the Czech Republic.
The letters from Alexeeva and Sabatova to Walesa were first published by the online Armenian magazine OER.
In Russia, the news about the letters to Lech Walesa in defense of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty employees were reported by Argumenti, Rambler.ru, and Inforotor.ru.
Lyudmila Alexeeva wrote to Walesa:
“Knowing the weight and influence of your name and voice in the United States, may I please invite you to intervene in defense of RFE/RL, currently under the threat of a moral and virtual annihilation.”
Anna Sabatova wrote to Walesa:
“Actions by RFE/RL management in Moscow and Prague are highly destructive to the established international reputation of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as an institution devoted to defense of human rights, the rule of law, human dignity, and other democratic values. The ideals did not change since the times of Solidarity and Charter 77.”
Full texts of the letters can be found here.