Comrade Absolonova is a tall, blond, sexy-looking girl and a devout Communist who seduced young men and blackmailed them to become informers.
“Radio Free Europe calls the citizens of Bratislava! … We are warning you…” Newsweek reported that after RFE called her “a prostitute, an immoral woman, and a tramp … Comrade Absolonova doesn’t work in Bratislava any more.”
The September 17, 1951 edition of Newsweek magazine featured a special report on Radio Free Europe (pages 25-26) which described to Americans U.S. government-supported radio broadcasting to countries behind the Iron Curtain. Newsweek wrote that “Unlike the Voice of America, RIAS in Berlin, and Red White Red in Vienna, Radio Free Europe is not a government organization; and it has only an informal connection with the State Department.”
This was not the whole truth. It was the Voice of America (VOA) which was at that time within the State Department, while Radio Free Europe was secretly managed and funded by the CIA with money appropriated by the U.S. Congress. RFE did have, however, much more independence than VOA. The station reported news from behind the Iron Curtain that VOA would still not report in 1951, such as details of imprisonment and torture of hundreds of thousands of opponents of communist regimes in East-Central Europe.
The Newsweek article mentioned a RFE broadcast to Czechoslovakia which exposed the activities of a Czech secret police agent Comrade Absolonova — “a tall, blond, sexy-looking girl and a devout Communist — who “seduced young men, then blackmailed them into turning informers.” Newsweek reported that RFE “described her activities in the bluntest possible language, calling her a prostitute, and immoral woman, and a tramp.” RFE also warned Hungarians who wished to escape to the West that “Sandor … is a [Communist] and agent provocateur…” Young Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians and Poles who attempted to escape put their lives at a great risk.
By 1951, the Voice of America was becoming more anti-communist under pressure from Congress but was still not anywhere near as able or willing as RFE to expose communist crimes. Only ten years earlier some of the communist propagandists active behind the Iron Curtain or even having their articles published in the United States by obscuring their identity were employed as U.S. federal government workers by the Voice of America and its former parent agency, the Office of War Information (OWI). In 1951, former VOA Czechoslovak Service chief Adolf Hoffmeister was the ambassador in France for the Stalinist regime (although he was soon recalled) and former VOA Polish Service journalist Stefan Arski, aka Artur Salman, was writing anti-American propaganda in communist newspapers in Poland while his former OWI and VOA colleague, Mira Złotowska Michałowska, was publishing under pen names soft pro-communist regime propaganda in American news magazines.