Christian radio station forced out of Ukraine by Zelensky’s anti-Russian language law

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A Christian radio station that ministers to Russian speakers has had to relocate from Ukraine to Hungary since Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky imposed an almost total ban on Russian music and television in July, Christianity Today (CT) reports.

With 65 percent of its broadcast consisting of Christian Russian-language songs, New Life Radio (NLR) has moved from its base in Odessa to the Hungarian capital Budapest.

Zelensky’s new law passed in the Ukrainian parliament with a two-thirds majority; pre-independence composers such as Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich are exempted, as are modern composers who have condemned the war, CT reports.

According to a national survey taken last year, 22 percent of the Ukrainian population are native Russian speakers, with 36 percent speaking Russian at home, CT said. Russian speakers in Ukraine live mainly in the eastern Donbas and southern regions.

“I don’t want our staff busted on the air for reading the Bible in Russian,” Dan Johnson, president of Christian Radio for Russia, which operates New Life Radio (NLR), told CT, “We were expecting bombs to wreck our radio operations, but it turned out to be this law.”

Renting studios, and broadcasting by satellite and online, NLR continues to deliver content in Russian, encrypting the signal to broadcast from Budapest, CT said. The station chose the Hungarian city to relocate to because there is a large Russian Christian community there.

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