Vladimir Rubinstein, BBC Monitoring Service executive, dies aged 91

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Vladimir (Vova) Rubinstein was a pivotal figure in the BBC Monitoring Service, the organisation that, by listening to foreign radio broadcasts around the world, is a fundamental supplier of news to the Government and the media.

Nicknamed the “ears of Britain”, the Monitoring Service was set up in the dark days of the Second World War and refined during the Cold War. It was manned by an extraordinary collection of diverse and eccentric people, many of them intellectuals with origins overseas, among whom Rubinstein stood out, not only for his linguistic abilities, but also for his interpersonal skills and understanding of world affairs, derived largely from his own background with first-hand experience of the Russian Revolution, the rise of Nazism and the complexities of the founding of Israel. To many, he was the heart of the Monitoring Service, and continued to be so for years after his retirement.

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