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VOA Pioneer Broadcast to Russia for 45 Years

A VOA Snapshot - Part of the continuing coverage in this, VOA's 60th Anniversary Year

No one VOA broadcaster has been on the air for all of our 60 years, but some came close. Victor Franzusoff broadcast on the VOA Russian Service for 45 years, including its first program in 1947.

Mr. Franzusoff went on to be a writer and commentator, and eventually Chief of the Russian Service. But whatever title he held, Victor was always passionate about his work and VOA's mission.

Former colleague Natalie Clarkson remembers. "When I think of Victor's qualities as a human being and as a journalist," she said, "I find that first and foremost he was insistent on accuracy and truthfulness of everything that we broadcast. I would say that was the most important aspect of his attitude toward what we were doing. He was a supremely honest and straightforward man and that was true in both his professional work and his relationships with people."

It is hard to find a subject that did not interest Victor Franzusoff. His interviews included numerous American and Soviet politicians and newsmakers, including Boris Yeltsin. Mr. Franzusoff also interviewed journalists, writers, Soviet specialists, dissidents, economists and musicians. And he loved sports, and had a particular passion for chess. In 1971 he interviewed the reclusive chess champion Bobby Fisher.

Victor Franzusoff's died in 1996, but his memoirs have just recently been published. They're called Talking to the Russians: Glimpses of History by a Voice of America Pioneer.

To write to us about our anniversary, send an email to Or, send regular mail to Anniversary, VOA News Now, Washington, D.C. 20237, USA.