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St. Petersburg remembers the inventor of radio – Alexander Popov


Today marks the nationwide Radio Day. On May 7th 1895, at the St. Petersburg University’s inner courtyard, physicist Alexander Popov demonstrated a first ever radio broadcast to its colleagues. Since early morning, residents of the city had been carrying flowers to monument of the scientist at the Petrogradskaya area.


An honorary guard of LETI students was put in a park next to the monument. Teachers, graduates and heads of enterprises congratulated all whose work is connected with radio technologies. Dmitriy Runkov looked into the past and listened to war-time radio broadcasts.

Dmitriy Runkov, reporter: “In a common view, radio is either a transmitter in a car or a box hanging in the old kitchen. But the world of today could not have done without this technology. Cell phones started working in St. Petersburg thanks to the Altay radio tower at the Vyborgskaya side. The needed equipment was installed here which allowed the former mayor Anatoliy Sobchak’s to make a first cellphone call in the Northern Capital, more than 20 years ago.

With the help of radio waves, scientists are promising another technical revolution. Soon, it will be possible to detect a drunken driver by means of an EMS, find explosives, or use it as a new energy source. Or even reveal all secret thoughts with the help of a radio.

Vladimir Kutuzov, rector of the LETI: “Now the task is to decipher thoughts so we could communicate with computers. Then we will have a new sense organ, which will emerge by means of radio”

Arctic or Space exploration would not have been possible without radio. Possibility of borderless communication between people has always been of special value. The voice of freedom made its way even through the “Iron Curtain” – via radiowaves.

Olga Kildysheva, CEO of Russian Institute of Heavy Radioconstruction: This kind of communication cannot be switched off. We see how things unravel in Ukraine, this communication is needed”

Radio has been more than just a means of communication for the residents of Leningrad. During the blockade, the pulse of the undying city was played on loudspeakers. Losing voice was one of Leningrad’s biggest fears. Shostakovich’s 7th symphony and Olga Berggoltz’s poems gave strength to live – equally as a blockade food ration. The most awaited news – of the city’s liberation – was played on the radio.

Radio Day became an official holiday during the War – on May 7th 1945, 2 days prior to the victory. For broadcasters these two dates are forever inseparable. The legend of the profession keeps the heroic memories in the House of Radio. With 50 years at work, Margarita Klykova is a witness to the epoch. She did radio shows with Olga Berggoltz and recorded Gagarin’s voice on a 15-kilogram portable recorder of those days. Even stern KGB men from the Bolshoy House at the Liteinyi avenue were praiseful of Margarita Sergeevna.

Margarita Klykova, radio “Peterburg” worker: “They said they liked the show, those from the Bolshoy house”

Radio’s heir – a cell phone – was rejected by Margarita Klykova. She is not using it. How could one cheat on the main love and “work of one’s lifetime. For a 21st century man, EMS are invisible. And only if you switch off your phone, a TV set and home wi-fi, you can understand the value of Alexander Popov’s invention.