Another old news oddity from the February 27, 1971 issue RPM, although this one doesn't involve music. Or it might, but I can't say for sure. The story: a very small article wedged near the back of the magazine announces via its headline that the 'CBC Russian service passes 20 year mark'. The inside details are scant, but intriguing: on February 4, 1951, the CBC began broadcasting 45 minutes of Russian programming daily into the Soviet Union from Sackville, New Brunswick through relay stations in the U.K. Tapes were also provided to Radio Moscow for use throughout the USSR, but there is no mention if these were ever used by the Soviets. A quote from the Canadian ambassador to the USSR cites the intent behind the broadcasts was to 'increase knowledge and friendship between the two people'. No surprise then that the programs sought 'to reflect all aspects of life within Canada and to present news and information in a factual manner'. And that's that.
While it's probably a safe bet that these broadcasts were of a subtly(?) propagandist and pro-democratic nature, without further insight into a typical show during this period, it's hard to say just what they were like, how they might have evolved, or how they were received. The only other information I could find (under 30 minutes) stated that the Russian language transmissions were jammed until about 1967, although the Russian service continues to this day, presumably uninterrupted since 1951. We also know from RPM that, even though the broadcasts apparently went unheard by the average Russian for many years, between the signals being unjammed in 1967 and the twenty year anniversary in 1971, Canadian hockey news segments had become very popular in the USSR. The Canada-Russia Hockey Series was only a little over a year away, so, who knows, perhaps those segments contributed to the Series' attempts at sports diplomacy?
As I said at the start, I don't know if music was included in the Russian service, but I'd be surprised if there was no music content whatsoever in the thousands of accumulated programming hours. If we're to take the stated mandate of 'all aspects of life in Canada' in earnest, how could they exclude our artistic and musical life? This may not have extended to popular music given the establishment's incredulity towards it in 60s and especially the 50s, but contemporary/new/classical Canadian music was a respectable, almost burgeoning field that was making good headway at the time. Of course, producers might have thought that the more accessible category of folk music would do the best job at communicating Canada's national essence musically, and if the inclusion of English or French texts was problematic, there was still a large body of instrumental folk music to draw from. Alternately, if they wanted to feature music from Canada with Russian texts – and be first-class shit-disturbers – they could have gone with some Doukhobor hymns; probably not, but it's fun to speculate.