Foreign Broadcasting

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Foreign Broadcasting


radio broadcasting intended for listeners in foreign countries. From its first days, the Soviet state made extensive use of the radiotelegraph to inform the international working class about the life of Soviet Russia and about the immediate measures and tasks of Soviet power. Early in November 1917, V. I. Lenin, speaking in the name of the Council of People’s Commissars, broadcast an appeal over the radiotelegraph to the peoples of the warring countries to conclude peace.

Regular radio transmissions from Moscow, addressed to mass foreign audiences, were begun in October 1929, in German and later in French and English. By 1940 radio broadcasts from the USSR were transmitted in 13 foreign languages, with an average total of 30 hours of programming a day. After the beginning of the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, foreign broadcasting in the USSR grew rapidly. At the end of 1941 broadcasts were being transmitted in 21 foreign languages, with a total programming of more than 50 hours a day. In 1944 broadcasts were transmitted in 29 languages, with a total programming of 59 hours a day. Among the many prominent foreign political figures, scholars, and writers who played a significant role in the activities of Soviet foreign broadcasting were S. Blagoeva, K. Gottwald, G. Dimitrov, D. Ibárruri, V. Kolarov, Z. NejedlÝ, W. Pieck, M. Thorez, and P. Togliatti, who appeared repeatedly at the microphone.

Soviet foreign broadcasting is a powerful weapon for propagandizing Communist ideology and is a highly effective means of quickly informing workers in foreign countries about the life of the Soviet people and about the policies of the Soviet state. It serves to strengthen the fraternal solidarity of the international working class and is an effective weapon in the struggle against imperialism and neocolonialism, for peace and the security of peoples, and for democracy and socialism. In 1970 the USSR was broadcasting in 70 foreign languages, with a daily total of more than 200 hours of programming. Programs for foreign listeners are broadcast not only from Moscow but also from the capitals of a number of Union republics—Baku, Vilnius, Dushanbe, Yerevan, Kiev, Minsk, Riga, Tallinn, and Tashkent. In November 1964 the Peace and Progress Radio Station began operating.

Soviet foreign broadcasts enjoy great popularity among foreign listeners and have a very large permanent audience. In 1969, Radio Moscow received more than 85,000 letters from 129 countries. Soviet foreign broadcasting periodically conducts questionnaire surveys among foreign listeners. More than 23,000 foreign listeners took part in one of these surveys, organized in 1967 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

By the middle of the 20th century, foreign broadcasting as a special form of broadcasting had reached a high level of development throughout the world. As of the first half of 1969,75 countries, that is, more than half of all independent states, had broadcast programs specially designed for foreign audiences. Their average daily programming totaled approximately 2,400 hours. The main content of the programs of foreign broadcasting organized by radio stations of imperialist countries consists of anticommunist and anti-Soviet propaganda and the dissemination of reactionary ideas.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s television broadcasts intended for foreign audiences also underwent rapid development.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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