Tag Archives: Russia

Anniversary of Sputnik I Launch & Radio Moscow

radio_moscow_sputnik_card_side1

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who writes:

Yesterday, 4 October, was the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite. The launch heralded the beginning of the space age. Sputnik I’s Doppler-shifted radio transmissions on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz led to the development of the U.S. Navy Navigation Satellite System (Transit) and the equivalent Soviet system (Tsikada) and, eventually, to GPS and GLONASS and the other modern global navigation satellite systems.

The Sputnik I radio signals were picked up by many shortwave listeners. The 20 MHz signal was close to that of WWV and so was easy to find. And, apparently, WWV turned off its 20 MHz transmitter during some of Sputnik I’s passes over the U.S. so as not to interfere with reception.

There are several good sites on the Web with information about Sputnik I and its radio signals including:

Richard's Radio Moscow QSL card (Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

Sometime in high school, I received a card from Radio Moscow celebrating the launch of Sputnik I [see above]. Perhaps it was issued in 1967 for the 10th anniversary of the launch.

Richard: You never cease to amaze me! Thank you so much for sharing all of this Sputnik I information and resources! That gorgeous QSL Card is perhaps my favorite design from Radio Moscow.

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CNN to stop broadcasts in Russia

CNN-International

Many thanks to Jonathan Marks who shares this breaking news item via BBC Monitoring:

CNN to stop broadcasting in Russia at end of year

Text of report by Russian state-owned TASS news agency (formerly ITAR-TASS)

Moscow, 10 November. Roskomnadzor [the Russian Federal Service for Supervision in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Mass Communications] has nothing to do with the stopping of broadcasts by the TV news channel CNN International on Russian cable networks, Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonskiy has told TASS.

“You should ask CNN’s shareholders about the reasons why the channel is stopping broadcasts,” Ampelonskiy said.

A source who is familiar with CNN’s business in Russia told TASS that CNN is stopping broadcasts on Russian cable networks for commercial reasons.

CNN is distributed in Russia on the cable and satellite networks of operators of subscription television such as Akado, Vympelkom, NTV and others.

The fact that CNN will stop broadcasting on cable networks in Russia from 31 December 2014 is stated in a letter from Turner Broadcasting System Europe (CNN’s owner), a copy of which TASS has. “With this letter we inform you that Turner is stopping the distribution of the CNN International television channel on the territory of the Russian Federation from 31 December 2014,” the letter says. The letter does not give the reasons for the decision. Turner Broadcasting System’s managing director in the CIS, Tatyana Kalita, declined to comment.

Akado and Vympelkom confirmed to TASS that they had received the letter. “Yes, we received the letter. We hope that next year the channel will broadcast on the territory of Russia again,” Vympelkom’s press service said.

Source: TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 2142 GMT 10 Nov 14

Jonathan also points out this article, which links the cessation of CNN broadcasts to a new law Putin has enacted:

(Source: Advertising Age magazine)

CNN, the cable news channel owned by Time Warner, will stop broadcasting in Russia after a new law was passed that limits foreign ownership in media companies.
Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting division said it hopes to resume broadcasting eventually, according to an e-mailed statement. The move was first reported by Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper. CNN’s Moscow bureau operations are unaffected, according to the statement.

“Turner International is assessing its distribution options for CNN in Russia in light of recent changes in Russian media legislation,” Turner wrote in the statement. “We are bringing our existing distribution relationships to an end while we do that. We hope to re-enter the market in due course, and will notify our partners of any update about resuming these services.” 

Last month, President Vladimir Putin signed a law that requires Russian media with foreign owners to reduce non-Russian ownership to 20% by the end of 2016.

[Continue reading…]

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Bloomberg: Russia Plans Break From Global Web

"Russian Federation (orthographic projection) - Crimea disputed" by FutureTrillionaire - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_Federation_(orthographic_projection)_-_Crimea_disputed.svg#mediaviewer/File:Russian_Federation_(orthographic_projection)_-_Crimea_disputed.svg

(Source: Bloomberg)

Russia plans next week to discuss contingency measures to cut the country off from the global Internet in what the Kremlin called a necessary step to shield the nation from the U.S.-controlled worldwide Web.

Russia’s state security council will examine ways to ensure domestic users can be redirected to servers inside the country rather than relying on the U.S.-managed Internet domain-names system, the Moscow-based Coordination Center for .RU domain said by e-mail today.

“We need to defend ourselves from the U.S. and Europe,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said by phone today. “This is not about isolating ourselves, it’s about getting ready for possible cut-offs as countries that regulate the Web may act unpredictably.”

[…]Russia last month banned anonymous access to the Internet in public spaces and expanded the regulation of media to the blogosphere, requiring those with at least 3,000 daily readers to register their real names and contact information. In February the authorities had passed a law allowing them to close webpages without a court decision if material is deemed “extremist.”

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who used to criticize Putin and reveal corruption among his inner circle, was the first victim of that law when his blog on LiveJournal.com was shut in March. Recent legislation requires Internet companies to store Russian users’ information on servers in the country, similar to Chinese regulations.

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg…

I expect this will only lower Russia on the Press Freedoms Index, where they are currently number 148 out of a possible 180.

This post is being tagged:  Why Shortwave Radio?

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Russian “clamps down” on US media, US to increase funding for RFE/VOA

Photo of Kremlin: ??????? ?. (Julmin) (retouched by Surendil) via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Kremlin: (Julmin) (retouched by Surendil) via Wikimedia Commons

This morning, I noticed the following press release from the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG):

Russia Clamps Down Further On U.S. International Media

The Broadcasting Board of Governors has condemned a recent decision by Russian authorities to cut off all remaining radio transmissions by U.S. international media in Russia.

In a one-sentence letter dated March 21, Dmitry Kiselev, the director of the information agency Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today), stated that “we are not going to cooperate” with the BBG’s request to continue a long-standing contract for broadcasting on Russian soil. Effective at the end of March, this decision removes the last vestige of Voice of America programming – including news in Russian and English-language lessons – from a local frequency in Moscow (810 AM).

“Moscow has chosen to do the wrong thing and restrict free speech,” said BBG Chairman Jeff Shell. “This is a fundamental value shared by many countries around the world. The BBG will continue to reach audiences in Russia through digital platforms and via satellite transmissions.”

Distribution of VOA and RFE/RL programming in Russia reached a high point in 2005, when VOA Russian programming was distributed on a nationwide television network and both VOA and RFE/RL had extensive partnerships with domestic Russian radio stations. But starting in that year, the Russian government turned greater attention to these stations and asked them all to re-apply for their licenses. And beginning in 2006, by denying the licenses of the stations that re-applied and intimidating the others, Russian authorities systematically eliminated domestic radio distribution of BBG-supported programs and almost all television distribution. In 2012, Russian authorities forced RFE/RL off its last remaining domestic radio outlet, an AM frequency in Moscow.

“We urge Mr. Kiselev and other Russian authorities to open Russian airwaves to more of our programs and those of other international broadcasters,” Shell added. “We’re asking for an even playing field: As Moscow’s media crackdown deepens, Russian media – including Russia Today television, which is under Mr. Kiselev’s authority – enjoy open access to the airwaves in the United States and around the world. The Russian people deserve the same freedom to access information.”

Kiselev, known for his strident anti-Western and homophobic views on Russian state television, was appointed in December 2013 to lead Russia Today. At the same time the Voice of Russia and the RIA Novosti news agency were merged into Russia Today.

The move also comes amid a fast-moving campaign to target opposition and independent media. Lists of “traitors” have been circulating in Moscow, and pro-Kremlin analyst Sergei Markov recently added RFE/RL’s Russian Service, Radio Liberty to his “list of traitors” on Facebook. In the same vein, politonline.ru, a part of the Pravda.ru media holding, has created Russia’s first top-20 list of the most “anti-Russian” news outlets. This list, which places Radio Liberty sixth, is being shared by influential Russian political advisors such as Alexander Dugin, who wrote on his Facebook page that “this is the order in which Russia’s most contemptible media outlets will be closed or blocked.”

Russians are increasingly turning to the Internet and social media for their news. VOA’s digital strategy incorporates content across platforms. In addition to live interactives with domestic television channels, such as Russian Business Channel, VOA’s web-TV show, Podelis, allows users to connect and engage with the content in real time using social media. Podelis, which means “share” in Russian, provides a unique opportunity to engage in discussions about current events, Russian politics and U.S.-Russia relations. VOA’s social media following in Russia has grown significantly and visits to VOA’s website have doubled every year since 2008.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Russian Service provides 24 hours of radio programming via the Internet and satellite, a website that was visited more than 6.5 million times in March, and a strong presence on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. RFE/RL has started a multi-hour, daily video stream for Russia consisting of coverage of the most important events with reactions from Russian citizens as well as opinions from the West. The stream also includes live roundtable ?discussions and expert interviews on Russia.

On Wednesday, BBG Watch posted an article with details about new legislation that would increase funding for Russian, Ukrainian and Tartar language services to “counter the propaganda that is supported by Russia.”

Here’s a quote from a press release in their article:

“S. 2183 is international broadcasting legislation originally authored by Chairman [Ed] Royce (and included as Section 103 of the Ukraine Support Act (H.R. 4278) that the House passed last week). The legislation authorizes increased funding for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America to enable them to expand their broadcasting in Russian, Ukrainian, and Tatar. This legislation requires the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to counter the propaganda that is supported by Russia and increase the number of reporters in eastern Ukraine. In addition, this legislation recognizes the threat to free media that neighboring states are under and bolsters the Balkan and Moldovan language services.”

Is it me, or is this starting to feel like the Cold War again?

I think the BBG would be wise to take a close look at the VOA Radiogram. In this case, the target audience is highly computer literate and could easily decode VOA transmissions with a simple shortwave radio and free, open-source software.

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Why shortwave? Russia blocks web pages linked to Ukraine protests

(Photo: VOA News)

(Photo: VOA News)

In response to the BBG’s request for comments on the relevancy of shortwave radio, SWLing Post reader, Rick, writes:

Here is the reason why VOA needs to keep broadcasting on shortwave.

Russia (or China or Angola or Zimbabwe or Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria) can easily block Internet access — to include, and particularly from, VOA. While shortwave can be jammed it takes a little more effort (and a considerable amount of budget to pay the electric bill for the high-powered jamming signals).

Unlike AM and FM radio transmission, shortwave transmitters can be located continents away from the strife for protection of the transmission infrastructure.

Shortwave transmission — coupled with the surreptitious distribution and proliferation of cheap shortwave radio receivers for target audiences — can help insure that the voice of freedom and democracy can continue to be heard in geopolitical hotspots throughout the world.”

Read the story Rick refers to here: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/russia-ukraine-protests-websites-internet-104171.html

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