A blog by Patrick Crozier

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June 15, 2003

State Failure #91: Exploding Russian televisions

I am sure I read about this somewhere but my understanding is that in the decade before the fall of the Soviet Union one of the main causes of death - aside, that is, from exploding nuclear power stations, exploding fuel pipelines etc, was exploding televisions.

The TV factory had a quota to fill and the costs of failing to fill the quota far exceeding the costs of killing the poor bastards who would have to use them. Meanwhile, the absence of a free press kept unwary Russian TV viewers, well, unwary.

At least I think that's what happened...

Unless you know different.

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In the Deutsches Technikmuseum's telecomunications section I saw The Leningrad. A beast of an early 50's East German built TV set. Many of them still work apparently.

However these won't be the sets you are talking about.

Posted by mark holland on June 16, 2003

I saw this line here:


His [Yeltsin's]appeal, however, was about as well-received as the Rubin television--the Soviet brand infamous for exploding when turned on.

Posted by Patrick Crozier on June 16, 2003

While living in Moscow in 1989 I clearly remember a TV report (before my set exploded) in which the Moscow fire brigade chief said flamable televisions had accounted for 20% of domestic fires in the city in 1988. Another example of state-economy madness was that Poles used to buy up these sets (Gorizont was a favourite) in Belarus and take them back to Poland, which only made B&W sets. Where no doubt they caused incendiary havoc.

Posted by Martin Morgan on June 17, 2003