Canadian model hits Chechen airwaves

Chechen TV has enlisted the help of a Canadian model who now hosts a weekly English-language news program.

Every Sunday, Canadian model Chrystal Callahan tells the world about her experiences in the Russian republic of Chechnya. The program includes news reports, features and an interactive segment.

The producers hope that by hiring the model, they’ll raise interest about the republic from abroad. The production company has been broadcasting on satellite for more than six months, and its director Said-Selim Abdulmuslimov says he is confident his channel’s new look will pay dividends.

The model is said to have been signed up for six months already, with a potential for more if she is a hit with the viewers, but all sides remain tight-lipped over just how much this international endeavor is going to cost.

Chrystal herself is no stranger to the republic. She has been there before to make a documentary, and fell in love with the local traditions and customs.

“I visited more than 32 countries and got bored, but I haven’t gotten bored here. There is just a lot of culture and very interesting traditions and customs. I love the people and the music, just everything,” Chrystal says.

A team of young journalists help Chrystal out. The only thing that makes the work a bit complicated is the language barrier, so an electronic translator is never far away.

The Kurbanov family in the Chechen capital Grozny looks forward to watching the program. Vakha, the father, believes it is great publicity for the republic:

“This English language broadcasting is a major achievement for the Chechen people. Europe will see how the republic is changing.”

Vakha has relatives in France and Belgium and now, he says, they’ll be able to catch up with the news from their motherland.

The Canadian face of the Chechen TV-channel is drawing the attention of people across the globe. It is probably the only project of its kind in Russia, so the organizers are looking forward to seeing what the reaction will be after the first broadcast.