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Savik
Shuster

b. 1952 in Vilnius, Lithuania, is a journalist, writer, and the TV-host of several highly popular political, social and sports shows broadcast in the post-Soviet states.


Each TV show quickly rose in viewership to become the most popular in the category, each with a multi-million audience. Shuster’s political shows included presidents, top politicians, and public figures. People, however, always remained the talk shows’ centerpiece. Thanks to the unique format of the programs and using innovative technologies, the TV-audience could see public opinion changing in real time in response to the arguments being put forward by the participants of the show.

Prior to moving to television Mr. Shuster worked in print and radio journalism, covering wars and conflicts all over the world during the last two decades of the 20th century. These included: Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel, Chad, Nicaragua, Serbia, Croatia, Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, South Ossetia, Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh (1st Armenian-Azerbaijani war), Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

 

His stories were published in numerous newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, Liberation, Der Spiegel, La Repubblica. Some of the highlights include:

●  In the spring of 1982, Mr. Shuster was the first reporter in the world to interview Soviet prisoners in Afghanistan.

●  In 1983, he launched a daring journalistic project “The false Red Star” in Kabul to attract the world's attention to the problem of the Soviet invasion to Afghanistan. In cooperation with Italian editor-in-chief Vincenzo Sparagna, Shuster created a satirical fake issue of the most influential Soviet military newspaper “The Red Star”. The featured articles told the story about complete reconciliation between the mujahideen and Soviet troops.  While risking his life with a small troop of mujahedeen warriors, Mr. Shuster smuggled 200 copies of the fake “Red Star” to Kabul, at that time heavily occupied by Soviet armed forces, and posted them on walls located no more than 100 meters from the Presidential Palace. The story about Shuster`s fake «Red Star» in Kabul, was told by many European newspapers and magazines, and instigated a broad discussion about the cruelty and illegality of the Soviet invasion to Afghanistan.

●  In 1988 Shuster acted as a peacemaker: he was a mediator for secret negotiations between the leaders of Afghanistan Resistance and the leaders of the Organization of United Nations (UN). The negotiations resulted in the peaceful withdrawal of more than 100,000 Soviet soldiers from Afghanistan.

●  In 1992, Savik Shuster established the Moscow Bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and worked as its chief editor until 2001. By 1993, under his direction, RFE/RL became recognized as the most efficient and credible news service in the former USSR.

●  In 2001, he started to host a political talk show called “Freedom of speech” on NTV, at that time the most influential TV channel in Russia. In a matter of months, the show became the most popular political tribune in the country.

●  In 2004, following a serious conflict with the Kremlin, and personally with President Putin, Shuster’s residence and work permit were not renewed and he was forced to leave Russia within 48 hours.

●  Immediately upon departing Russia, he was invited to move to Ukraine to launch and host a similar talk show on one of the leading TV-channels, ICTV. For 12 years his show had top ratings in Ukraine.

●  In 2015 he founded his own channel, 3STV (Savik Shuster Studio), which he defined as “the first non-oligarchic channel”.

Millions of Ukrainians trusted the new channel for its independence and promotion of the freedom of speech. At that time, no television channel was allowed to present events showing the government in a negative light, which Shuster regularly did. For this reason, in October 2015, the state authorities began to attack Shuster and his channel with accusations of fiscal fraud. Being an Italian citizen, his work permit in Ukraine was revoked by the government and he was forced to leave the country.

 

After years of hearings, all of the accusations and punitive measures have been ruled illegal by the Supreme Court of Ukraine.

●  In 2018 Savik Shuster published his book “Freedom of Speech vs Fear and Humiliation. A Social Experiment on Live Television: the First Map of Collective Emotions of a Country.” Within a few months the book became a non-fiction best seller in Ukrainian book shops.

In this book, Shuster talks about what was happening behind the scenes of the most influential political show of the country in 2013-2016 and about his first study of mass emotions.

●  His interest in this topic evolved after he founded the Open Mind Foundation in Feb. 2019. The Foundation dedicated itself to a comprehensive study of collective and mass emotions, and their effect on everyday life.

●  After President Zelensky`s victory in the 2019 elections Savik Shuster was given back his work permit in Ukraine. Soon after, Mr. Shuster launched his talk show “Freedom of Speech by Savik Shuster” on the top ranked TV channel of the country: "Ukraine". Within weeks the talk show was rated No.1 in the country.

●  Starting February 24, 2022, the talk-show was suspended due to the martial law being imposed in Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion. Currently Shuster is continuing his research work and   participating in charity activity to help Ukrainian refugees abroad.

 

Savik Shuster`s YouTube channel
 

Article: “The Revolution of Mass Emotions in the Television Broadcast Industry”

Savik Shuster on the need to study the mass emotions

“To defeat Russian Fascism”, Savik Shuster`s speech in Brussels, ALDE party-conference, March 24, 2022.

Psycholinguistic research based on the Savik Shuster book ““Freedom of Speech vs Fear and Humiliation. A Social Experiment on Live Television: the First Map of Collective Emotions of a Country.” Kyiv, 2018.

Research on the impact of Savik Shuster`s talk show on the political landscape of Ukraine

An article about Savik Shuster`s participation in withdrawal of Soviet Army from Afghanistan