DALLAS — When you open the Dallas Telegraph, you’ll immediately notice it’s not like your normal newspaper. That’s because it’s written in not one, but three languages!
“We decided to do a newspaper that will be not Russian, but will be American newspaper,” said Serge Taran. “In American format, with Slavic roots, international roots.”
Serge and Ludmila Taran founded the Dallas Telegraph in 2012 to service the massive Russian-speaking community in North Texas. In Dallas alone, there are over 70,000 Russian speakers.
The Tarans have a long history of journalism, beginning back in the Soviet Union. In fact, Serge started the first Christian radio broadcast ever in Ukraine, something that was strictly illegal in the USSR. When the KGB discovered the secret messages he was broadcasting, they came to him with an ultimatum.
“From Kiev, you will fly either to the West as ‘our guy,’” the KGB told Serge. “Or to Siberia as an enemy of the state.”
He escaped their notice, though, and came to America. So yeah, these two pillars of the Russian-speaking community know what it’s like to live through complicated times. Now that relations between the US and Russia are more tense than they’ve been since the Cold War, what is it like to be a Russian speaker in America?
“For us, to be an American is a pride.” Serge said. “People here in this country, they’re friendly and they’re very open-minded.”
“American people are very, very friendly,” Ludmila added. “And I believe they realize that politics and Russians is different.”
“Yes, nationality and politics are different,” Serge said.
So while Washington and Moscow may take turns expelling diplomats and testing missiles, for the Tarans, their American dream goes on, helping Russian speakers stay part of their culture, while bridging that gap between two of the world’s superpowers.