A Moscow Radio newscaster who criticized the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in a series of puzzling news broadcasts over the radio's English-language world service has told government investigators that he did so as an act of protest against the Kremlin's Afghan policy, according to well-informed sources.
The 35-year-old newscaster, Vladimir Danchev, was promptly fired from his job and is currently being investigated by the authorities. Danchev was also subjected to medical tests, reportedly to determine his mental state, but the sources said he was not expected to be imprisoned.
Several top Moscow Radio executives, including the editor-in-chief of the radio's World Service, have been officially reprimanded because of the incident, which involved Danchev's denouncing Soviet forces in Afghanistan and calling on antigovernment Moslem rebels "not to lay down their arms and to fight against the Soviet invasion" of their country.
Danchev, a native of Tashkent, the capital of Soviet Uzbekistan that borders on Afghanistan, was said to have told the investigators that he was strongly opposed to the Soviet role in Afghanistan and that he wanted to see an immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from that country.
According to the sources, Danchev said that he had intended to continue to use Moscow Radio, where he had worked as an English-language newscaster, to make his views known.
On May 18, Danchev reported in two separate news programs that Afghan tribesmen in Ghor and Baghlan provinces had called for continued struggle against the Babrak Karmal government and the Soviet invading force.
On Monday, in a series of three successive news broadcasts, he talked about an increasing popular resistance against "Soviet occupants" and quoted Afghan tribal chiefs as saying that "the activity carried out from Soviet territory endangers the security of the population." He also talked about the struggle "against bands infiltrated from the Soviet Union," adding:
"Reports in Kabul say that the tribes living in the eastern provinces of Mangahar and Paktia have joined in the struggle against the Soviet invaders."
Despite the bizzare aspects of this personal protest, the incident appeared to reflect discontent among the Soviet elite about Moscow's Afghan policy.