Did you know that before the Soviet revolution 1917-1921 there was no electricity in the Russian countryside. Radio was a powerful propaganda tool, so one of the first things the Soviet government did was ‘radiofication’ (installation of wired radio units and a loudspeaker system) of the villages.
Here is an extract from the “Radiolyubitel” (“Radiolover”) newspaper (dating 1925, № 21-22) about the significance of the radio for the Soviet people and its fight against superstitions.
“The radio generates huge interest on behalf of the common people. Experience shows that the radio helps fight superstition and beliefs in supernatural forces. Let’s look at the farmers’ lifestyle. Imagine there’s been no rains for many days, the crops are drying up, and the ‘kulaki’ (wealthy farmers) are encouraging the krestyane (farmers) to arrange a religous procession around the fields to asperse the crops. The priest, sitting at home and looking at his barometer, is trying to figure when when to best hold the procession – and then, suddenly, this damned radio ruins all the priest’s plans. The loudspeakers go: “To everyone. Tomorrow, in such and such locations, rains are expected”! This is a major blow to the priests with their ‘cunning schemes’. There are many more examples that show how the radio reveals the religious narcotic and fights the people’s ignorance, their belief in demons, bogies etc., and the Soviet farmers are getting the right track, working in close contact with science…” (translated by Lyubov Zolotova).
Photo: A Soviet farmer listening to the radio, 1925 (Museum of Russian Modern History, Moscow Russia)