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Radio in the Soviet Union

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Title: Radio in the Soviet Union  
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Subject: Broadcasting in the Soviet Union, Printed media in the Soviet Union, Soviet radio, Georgiy Mamedov, Lev Leshchenko
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Radio in the Soviet Union

All-Union Radio
Всесоюзное радио
Type Broadcast radio
Country Soviet Union
Availability National
Launch date
Dissolved 1991

All-Union Radio (Moscow.


  • History 1
    • Beginning 1.1
    • Radio jamming 1.2
    • Collapse of the USSR 1.3
  • Stations 2
    • Domestic 2.1
    • International 2.2
  • See also 3
  • Footnotes 4
  • External links 5



The first All-Union Radio station, under the Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs, was opened upon Lenin's initiative (for a "newspaper without a paper" as the best means of public information) in November 1924. On November 23, 1924 the first regular broadcast was produced in Moscow on the Comintern radio station. In 1925, the Radio Commission of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) was organized for overall supervision of radio broadcasting.

On 30 October 1930, from Tiraspol, MASSR, started broadcasting in the Romanian language a Soviet station of 4 kW whose main purpose was the anti-Romanian propaganda to Bessarabia between Prut and Dniester.[1] In the context in which a new radio mast, M. Gorky, built in 1936 in Tiraspol, allowed a greater coverage of the territory of Moldova, the Romanian state broadcaster started in 1937 to build Radio Basarabia, to counter Soviet propaganda.[2]

When the Cold War started, Americans launched the station Radio Free Europe while Western broadcasts were launched in the Eastern bloc.

Radio jamming

Beginning in 1948, the USSR made use of radio jamming to prevent its citizens from listening to political broadcasts of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Voice of America (VOA) and other western radio programs.[3] Over time this initial effort was escalated dramatically, with the approximately 200 jamming stations with a total between 3 and 4 megawatts of output power in 1952 expanded to about 1700 transmitters with a combined 45 megawatts of output power.[3] By this latter date, the list of jammed foreign broadcasts had been expanded to include not only the successors to the BBC and VOA, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, but also Deutsche Welle, Radio Vatican, Kol Israel, and others.[3] Total electricity consumed in the course of this jamming operation has been valued at tens of millions of dollars annually, exclusive of site construction and personnel costs.[3]

Jamming was initially attempted by means of superimposed random speech which mimicked station interference.[4] Due to the ineffectiveness of this method, however, a move was later made to the generation of random noise to obscure human speech.[4] From the early 1970s, satellites generating swinging carrier signals were used to interfere even more effectively.[4]

Nevertheless, people continued (or attempted) to listen to Western broadcasts. In fact, there was even no jamming of these signals (excluding Radio Free Europe) at all, from 1963-1968, and from 1973-1980. In 1963, a further attempt was made to draw USSR radio listeners from western broadcasts by launching a radio station favouring Moscow city and oblast. The jamming stopped in 1988 (Radio Free Europe was, however, unblocked in August 1991).

Collapse of the USSR

As the USSR began to fall in the 1980s, the radio organisation of the USSR began to shut down as private services were introduced and the USSR's stations were relaunched and refocused.




See also


  1. ^ Rodica Mahu, Radio Moldova se revendica de la Radio Tiraspol
  2. ^ Radiofonie românească: Radio Basarabia
  3. ^ a b c d George W. Woodard, "Cold War Radio Jamming," in A. Ross Johnson and R. Eugene Parta (eds.), Cold War Broadcasting: Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2010, pg. 53.
  4. ^ a b c Woodard, "Cold War Radio Jamming," pg. 64.

External links

  • Gosteleradio at the Internet Movie Database
  • Russian Museum of Radio and TV website (Russian)
  • Soviet Union
  • [1] (Russian)
  • Soviet All-Union Radio Committee Collection (ARS.0085), Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound
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