The Communist Response
Jamming of radio broadcasts is an insult, and a reduction of man to the level of a robot.
The communist response was to jam the radios, producing audio or electronic sounds on the same frequencies, so that it was difficult or impossible to hear the program being broadcast. Jamming was done by the Soviet Union continually, from three hours after the initial broadcast to December 1988, and by all countries in Eastern Europe sporadically.
In addition to jamming, the communist governments used other methods to silence the radios. Viewing the émigré employees as traitors to their homelands, the regimes threatened employees and their families still living behind the Iron Curtain. Spies infiltrated the radios, occupying some key positions. Bombings and assassinations took place.
The most notorious assassination was that of Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian writer and former associate of Bulgarian president Todor Zhivkov. He was stabbed with an umbrella containing a pellet of deadly ricin poison.
On February 21, 1981, a tremendous explosion rocked the RFE/RL headquarters in Munich, causing $2 million in damage and some injuries but no deaths. Stasi files opened after 1989 indicated that the bombing was carried out by a group of international terrorists under the direction of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, and paid for by Nicolae Ceausescu, president of Romania.
In the end, the impact of the threats, violence, spies, and bombing was negligible. RFE and RL continued their broadcasts without interruption throughout the communist period and up to the present day.