Voice of Russia's DC Bureau Closes, Lays Off Staff

Monday, 14 Jul 2014 10:35 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The Voice of Russia went abruptly silent in Washington on Monday.

With both the IRS and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigating, the Washington bureau of the Russian government's radio news outlet abruptly shut down and its staff was laid off, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

"I think it just got to a point where it was just too much," one employee told the newspaper.

The Free Beacon said that the radio station was purportedly taken off the air last week, but that employees got the news only Monday.

A worker told the newspaper the station has been airing broadcasts from VOR bureaus outside the United States since last week; foreign dispatches could stop at the end of the month when the station's contract runs out, the Free Beacon reported.

The shutdown was announced at a meeting called by the station's budget manager, Roman Tokman, who may still have a job with Russian TV news outlet RT America, the Free Beacon reported. He's purportedly a relative of Alexei Iazlovsky, president and owner of RTTV America, who pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns last July, the Free Beacon reported.

The newspaper said the radio station may be reorganized under another company not controlled by Iazlovsky; some workers could be hired back at that time.

"There's going to be something else taking its place in the quasi-near future. Because it's Moscow, everything always takes longer," an employee told the Free Beacon. "From what I've gathered, I think it's probably going to be in the next six months to a year."

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