A new language law in Ukraine has complicated ministry to Russian-speaking citizens. Comparing restrictions to the Soviet era, one Christian broadcaster is relocating to Budapest, Hungary.
“I don’t want our staff busted on the air for reading the Bible in Russian,” said Dan Johnson, president of Christian Radio for Russia, which operates New Life Radio (NLR) from Odessa on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. “We were expecting bombs to wreck our radio operations, but it turned out to be this law.”
Last month, Russian missiles landed one mile from their studio.
But earlier in July, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed into law a near-complete ban on Russian music on radio and television. Passed by parliament with a two-thirds majority, it exempts pre-independence classical artists like Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich as well as modern composers who have condemned the war.
About 65 percent of NLR airtime is music. Though local Christian anthems have inspired many during the war,…