Russia (MNN) — Young people in Russia are facing incredible obstacles. The orphan population is growing. Drug and alcohol abuse is common. HIV/AIDS infection rates are almost as high as those of Africa. And materialism is beginning to become more of a god than in years past.
Far East Broadcasting Company is addressing many of these issues through local programming. FEBC's Director of Russian Ministries is Rudi Wiens. He says talk radio is a great vehicle to do this. "We have a weekly one hour talk show that is done out of Moscow to AIDS related kind of issues. That is becoming [very] popular, and newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations quote some of our material from our broadcast there."
According to Wiens, while discussion of HIV/AIDS is important, they're also addressing the orphan population by talking about foster care and adoptions. "We talk about these issues and encourage Christians to be willing to pray about it — maybe to take in some children from the orphanages and more and more Christians do that. And, it really has some impact on the society."
While the government has cracked down on some radio stations because of their political views, FEBC is non-political. "We share the Good News, and we help socially as well. [We talk about] social problems, like alcoholism and drug abuse, which isn't actually in opposition to any government."
FEBC has radio stations in four cities. "Three of them are AM stations. [One is] in the city of Khabarovsk. Then Moscow and St. Petersburg, the two largest cities in the west [we have AM stations], and also, the largest city in Siberia, Novosibirsk." However, they air a daily program on closed circuit radio.
Wiens says FEBC is still using short-wave as well. "We still broadcast from Saipan 7 hours a day by short-wave. Short-wave is not as popular today, but still there are those distant areas in which it is the only source of the Good News for many, many towns."
Wiens believes the evangelism potential is incredible in Russia. "There are hundreds of thousands [of people] that regularly listen to us by short-wave and the same on local stations in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In Khabarovsk it's more like in the dozens of thousands who regularly listen, but potentially there are millions."