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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 25, 1986

MEMORANDUM TO CENTRAL COMMITTEE FROM POLITBURO MEMBERS LIGACHEV AND CHEBRIKOV ON JAMMING OF WESTERN RADIO STATIONS

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    This memorandum from Politburo members Chebrikov and Ligachev describes in general terms the jamming situation in 1986 and the rationale for ending jamming on VOA, BBC, Radio Beijing and Radio Korea, while continuing jamming of Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Deutsche Welle and Kol Israel.
    "Memorandum to Central Committee from Politburo Members Ligachev and Chebrikov on Jamming of Western Radio Stations," September 25, 1986, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Per. 18. D. 105. pp. 1-2. Obtained by Vladimir Tolz. Translated by Gary Goldberg. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121556
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[Excerpt]

Memorandum to the CC CPSU of Ye. Ligachev and V. Chebrikov, 25 September 1986

At the present time jamming of eight foreign radio stations is being carried out: Voice of America, BBC, Radio Liberty, [Radio] Free Europe, Deutsche Welle, Kol Israel [Voice of Israel], Radio Beijing, and Radio Korea.

Thirteen long-range protection and 81 local protection radio centers are used, with a total power of about 40,000 kilowatts.

Long-range protection is done by jamming broadcasts on about 30% of the territory of the Soviet Union. Local protection is organized in 81 cities and enables the suppression of broadcasts in a zone with a radius of up to 30 km. Beyond this zone the quality of jamming falls off sharply. The long-range and short-range protection equipment covers regions of the country in which about 100-130 million people live with varying effectiveness.

As practical operating experience shows, at the technical level it is difficult to accomplish the task of providing high-quality jamming over the entire territory of the USSR and it requires considerable material resources.

The broadcasts of the non-governmental radio stations Radio Liberty and [Radio] Free Europe, as well as Deutsche Welle and Kol Israel, have an openly anti-Soviet character and abound with malicious slander of Soviet reality.

As a rule, the radio stations Voice of America and BBC deliver their materials tendentiously, from anti-Soviet perspectives, trying in the process to adhere to an impartial approach to describing the events and facts of international life, politics, economics, and culture.

The propaganda materials of Radio Beijing and Radio Korea are unfriendly toward the USSR but not very convincing, and their delivery is done in a biased manner and primitively. […]

…it seems advisable to halt the jamming of the government radio stations Voice of America and BBC, and also the radio stations Radio Beijing and Radio Korea.

The technical resources freed up in the process are to be used for higher-quality and reliable jamming of Radio Liberty, [Radio] Free Europe, Deutsche Welle, and Kol Israel radio stations. […]