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RTI celebrates two decades of Russian-language broadcasting

TAIPEI--Radio Taiwan International this week celebrated 20 years of Russian-language broadcasting since the program restarted in 1994 following a five-decade hiatus.

On Friday, the state-funded radio station invited representatives from the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission on Economic and Cultural Cooperation (MTC), the Taiwan-Russia Association as well as faculty members and students of Russian-language departments from National Chengchi University (NCCU), Tamkang University (TKU) and Chinese Culture University (CCU), to a ceremony to celebrate the occasion.

The celebrations opened with students from NCCU's Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures performing a traditional Russian dance.

RTI's Russian-language hosts then showed a specially made video that introduced the nature of each of their programs and acquainted guests with their online radio hosts.

Speaking at the event, RTI Chairman Chang Jung-kung said that Russian-language broadcasts initially began in 1939, but only continued after a long intermission.

Russian-language transmissions stopped following the outbreak of the Chinese Civil War.

The station continued to broadcast in Chinese and English as the Voice of Free China, after it relocated to Taiwan in 1949.

Russian broadcasts later resumed in 1994 — making this year the 20th anniversary of the program's resumption.

The English name and call sign of the Central Broadcasting System, which was founded in Nanjing in 1928, was changed to Radio Taiwan International in the late 1990s.

The station's Russian-language program has not only been hailed by Russian media as a favorite for international listeners, it has also received great acclaim from Russia's state-owned international radio broadcasting service The Voice of Russia, said Chang.

The far-reaching influence of the Russian-language broadcast on listeners abroad was clear at RTI's first listener club meeting in Moscow last year, Chang said.

More than 70 loyal listeners turned up, including one who journeyed over 2,000 km by train to attend the event, according to Chang.

Representative Vasily Dobrovolskiy, head of MTC, said that he has been a loyal follower of RTI for many years now, and reading RTI's Russian-language website for the latest Taiwan-Russia news is the first thing he does every morning.

Dobrovolskiy further praised the content of RTI's radio programs as “superb” and “valuable,” citing RTI's “outstanding contribution” toward Taiwan-Russia relations.

To celebrate two decades of broadcasting, RTI Russian-language coordinator Maria Lee, better known by the nickname “Masha,” said that besides the celebratory tea party, RTI has also organized a series of activities, including interviews with previous radio hosts and a question and answer contest for listeners.

Russian-language learners from Taiwanese universities have also been invited to visit RTI's headquarters, she said, adding that she hopes RTI's efforts will help to strengthen interaction and understanding between Taiwan and Russia.

RTI broadcasts in 13 languages around the world, with a majority of its programs being Mandarin-language broadcasts over shortwave radio signals into China.

Besides Russian, RTI's foreign language broadcasts include English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese.

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