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29 Oct, 2009 07:24

Russia’s first world radio service hits 80

“Voice of Russia”, Russia’s first international radio station, is marking its eightieth anniversary of global broadcasting. It has been breaking news in different languages on the most dramatic moments in history.

Voice through the ages

Voice of Russia could be heard during the times of WWII, the Cold War and at the end of the Soviet Union.

Prisoners in Nazi concentration camps are said to have built receivers out of bulbs and wires to tune in during the Second World War.

In 1962, “Radio Moscow”, as it was then known, was the first to tell the world that the Cuban missile crisis was over, with an announcement from the then Russian president Nikita Khrushchev.

The station is now broadcasting in over 30 languages and in 160 countries. The first transmissions were in German. By 1939, the listeners could enjoy programs in English, French, Italian and Arabic.

Over the years some things have changed since first taking to the airwaves.

Andrey Bystritsky, chairman of Voice of Russia, said: “We are now multimedia not only sound or voice but also pictures, text, video and so on and so on.”

The most important thing remains – informing the world of Russian news. More than 100 million listeners from all over the world tune in every day.

Dear editors…

For some, the memory of the first time they heard radio Moscow is still fresh, like one listener from Sweden:

“You will be surprised to know that I first heard Radio Moscow on my own during the winter of1944-1945! I was a boy of ten and had started to investigate the wonderful world of radio with the small four tubes radio set my dad had bought… Indeed, it opened the world for me!”

Others, such as one American who tunes in, praise the radio station for the style of reporting:

“Today’s ‘Voice of Russia’ is much broader in its appeal with the Cold War comfortably behind us all. Your news coverage is an alternative take on world affairs, and bears careful listening.”

Today, Voice of Russia is a great source for people from all over the world to get to know more about modern Russia.

“Most of the people who come on to my show are positive about this country”, says Estelle Winters, a British radio host who has been with Voice of Russia for twenty years. “Russia has great potential. It is still going through transition and it’s going to take years to find a solution for such a vast country.”