I’ve been lately trying to get my head around a hodgepodge of old feelings about the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc. I won’t pretend it’s organized, or that it rises above a perverse nostalgia, and comes with the twentieth anniversary of the attempted August coup that ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and some deep concerns about the state of a world run by oligarchs. And that makes me think about broken promises of prosperity, alternatives to our consumerist form of prosperity, and how miserable life can get (and the follow-on plague of grinding down generations). Or put another way, it’s easy to say you want a less materialistic life when they’re aren’t bread lines. The Arab Spring has, so I gather, roots as deeply economic as political. Perhaps more so.
That’s a huge prelude to what I found the other day. Back when the Soviet Union was opening up and later failing — these were the days before the World Wide Web — I listened to the world by shortwave radio, and especially Radio Moscow, which was changing as fast as a summer storm. But with the ‘web this workhorse technology was cut back, particularly with transmissions to North America. But Radio Moscow’s successor, the Voice of Russia, and a handful of other continued. But it wasn’t enough to justify the kind of better radio that could cope with steel-framed apartment buildings.
Well, lo and behold, the Voice of Russia has acquired two United States AM-radio stations, and provide a limited measure of local programming. 1390 AM in Washington, D.C. and 1430 AM in New York twenty-four hours a day. Low powered and nice and crackly, like shortwave. (But why? This article suggests a post-Cold War turn-around.)
Or online atÂ http://english.ruvr.ru/, without the static.