Friday, 9 February 2018


Although it was not against the law, my mother was not too happy about me listening to pro­grammes -in Dutch or otherwise- from the USSR. Her displeasure grew ex­ponentially how­ever when I re­ceived a letter from Russia and the postman decided to deliver it to the wrong address, a bit further up the road. “Whatever will the neighbours think”, she sighed disapprovingly. My mother, having seen the Gestapo at close quarters during the war, felt sure that our family must now be under the watchful eye of whatever equivalent organisation was bound to be in existence in Belgium… I, on the other hand, was delighted having received a commemorative pin and a letter (on cheap rice paper) singing the praises of Gherman Titov. On the 6th of August 1961 he had become the second man in space. In the event it proved that my early flirtation with Russian radio did not summon the secret police to our house, much to the relief of my mother. 

Radio Moscow be­gan broadcasting to The Netherlands and Flanders as far back as 1930. During the height of the Cold War Russia was on the air in 65 languages, including three half hour programmes in Dutch every evening. The station had one of the best known interval signals. Moscow could be picked up easily in shortwave and -from transmitters in East Germany or the Baltic states- also on medium wave. Transmissions in Dutch and many other languages were discontinued in 1994, when the roubles ran out, some time after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

More of AJ's radio- and other anecdotes.

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