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Old 10-10-2016, 02:32 PM
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vts1134 vts1134 is offline
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From Russia With Love

Nine months ago I began a journey behind the Iron Curtain. I was on a quest to bring home the second Russian Leningrad T-2 television/radio into the USA. I say the second because the US Air Force imported the first over 60 years ago (more on this later). When I first laid eyes on a photograph of the Leningrad T-2 some years ago I vowed that I would find an example some day and add it to my collection. I had no idea how difficult that would be. Not speaking Russian, or living in Russia, meant huge language and geographical obstacles had to be overcome. Dealing with Russia, a country that most Americans see as an enemy, and likewise many of them see us as an enemy, meant huge cultural obstacles had to be overcome. Add to that the fact that Russia bans the export of objects over 50 years old which meant huge bureaucratic obstacles had to be overcome. It seemed to be an insurmountable task...

After a year of searching online sources for an example worth bringing home, I found my Leningrad this February. He (the Russian language assigns gender to objects which I've found myself adopting for this set) was listed on the Russian equivalent of Craigslist. There were 4 dim, terrible quality, cell phone photos along with a very brief description posted in the ad. What drew my attention was the original paper label behind the knobs seemed to be intact. This piece is very often missing and I wanted to find an example that included this original label. Here were the original photos:









I wrote the seller via Goggle Translate (WOW did I use that a lot during this process) and explained that I was interested in her television. Her price was higher than what I had seen other sets sell for so I knew it was not going to be sold anytime soon. Ekaterina had posted the ad, but her mother was the current owner. Ekaterina was friendly and easy to talk to. I am working with her and her mother to get the full family history of the set and will share that with everyone when I write it. What I know so far was the set originally belonged to her Grandfather. Here is a fantastic early photo of the family.



I knew I had to see better photographs of the set in order to determine if he was "the one." I called on a man named Anton Gorsky, who I had communicated with previously, and asked if he could photograph the set for me. Anton is a photographer and very well known in the Russian collector community. Anton agreed and traveled to Ekaterina's home with camera in tow. After seeing Anton's photographs I knew her set was the one I would try to get home. My next step was figuring out Russia export laws and finding help getting him packed and shipped. Enter a man named Dmitry Solomatin and his daughter-in-law Elena Kalegina. Dmitry is a well respected collector and without him I would never have been able to add this television to my collection. I often say that my favorite part of this hobby is the amazing, friendly, helpful people that are in it, and never has that been more true than in Moscow Russia and the help that Dmitry has given me, all while asking nothing in return.

Dmitry does not speak English, and of course I do not speak Russian, but his daughter-in-law Elena speaks and writes in fluent English. Elena worked her way through the bureaucracy in Moscow and managed to secure an official release letter from the Ministry Of Culture allowing the Leningrad to legally leave the country, something that most people thought would be impossible. With the release letter secured Dmitry purchased the set on my behalf and prepared it for shipping. He removed the CRT as well as the lamps (Russians refer to tubes as lamps) and packed the set it three custom made wooden crates that he built by hand. I can only describe this process as one made with love. Even the fellow who unloaded the shipment at the airport in Pittsburgh remarked "wow, those are some very nice boxes." I was shaking with excitement when I picked up the set and heard those words. I wholeheartedly agreed with him.

Unfortunately the entire set did not arrive completely unharmed. Something was loose inside the CRT that scratched the phosphor of the face of the tube. So the saga is not yet complete and I will now search for a replacement CRT. Rome wasn't built in a day, and getting a complete Leningrad T-2 won't be done for some time yet. The rest of the cabinet and chassis is amazingly well preserved. It gives me a huge smile to see this set in my collection!







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Old 10-10-2016, 03:09 PM
consoleguy67 consoleguy67 is offline
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Wow. Quite an amazing journey so far!!
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Old 10-10-2016, 03:33 PM
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What an amazing story John. I too am startled that you were able to legally get the set out of Russia. A former professor and mentor of mine is Russian and had immense trouble securing the necessary paperwork that would allow some of his early unpublished research (mid-60s to mid-70s) to be returned to him now that he's a naturalized US citizen. Elena must know some people in high places to perform such a miracle....
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Old 10-10-2016, 05:24 PM
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Interesting story and very impressive TV. I've never seen one before. After decades in the radio/TV collecting hobby I've only recently taken a serious look at European sets and gained quite a respect for them.
Good luck getting that CRT! A shame that had to happen.
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Old 10-10-2016, 06:06 PM
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Ah I see, so the tube wasn't necked just something was inside it which caused the phosphor to wear off. If it's still got a vacuum it may be possible to rebuild it someday, so I advise not doing anything with that tube just yet. Let's get together at the next ETF, if you can make it bring the tube along and we'll look at it together.
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:07 AM
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What a neat looking set. I'd be proud if having that rare set too. Congrats on getting it and very cool story!
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:29 AM
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Here are a few of the newspaper articles of the day that talk about the first Leningrad T-2 to be imported to the US. I am trying to track down any info about this set, if anyone has any clues, or any other info I would greatly appreciate it. The first article is from the LA Times and has the most info. It also talks about a МОСКВИЧ т-1 being imported in addition to the Leningrad T-2. This set it earlier than the Leningrad T-2 and I am currently hunting Russia for one of these sets.





And my personal favorite headline:

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Old 10-11-2016, 08:37 AM
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M3-SRT8 M3-SRT8 is offline
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Whoa. That's really something.

What's the TV's Serial Number? Was it one of the @30,000 made in Germany?
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:24 AM
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This from "Pravda" September 10, 1952:

"The cheif engineer of the Leningrad T-1, Viktor Videoff, was sentenced to death under Articles 58-6 and 58-7 (Espionage and Wrecking) in that he knowingly shared blueprints of this sterling example of advanced Soviet Design with one Vladimir Zworkin of the Radio Corporation of America, who in turn utilized the design in their post-Great Patriotic War 1946 630TS."

"Sentence to be carried out immediately. The execution will be viewed on People's Channel 1, 8:00PM, Moscow Time."

"Viewership is manditory. Failure to view execution is punishable minimum 6 months under Article 58-10. Failure to report any citizen not viewing execution is punishable under Article 58-12."

Last edited by M3-SRT8; 10-11-2016 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:26 AM
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"But, Komerade Beria, our family doesn't have a television set."
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:40 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3-SRT8 View Post
This from "Pravda" September 10, 1952:

"The cheif engineer of the Leningrad T-2, Viktor Videoff, was sentenced to death under Articles 58-6 and 58-7 (Espionage and Wrecking) in that he knowingly shared blueprints of this sterling example of advanced Soviet Design with one Vladimir Zworkin of the Radio Corporation of America, who in turn utilized the design in their post-Great Patriotic War 1946 630TS."

"Sentence to be carried out immediately. The execution will be viewed on People's Channel 1, 8:00PM, Moscow Time."

"Viewership is manditory. Failure to view execution is punishable minimum 6 months under Article 58-10. Failure to report any citizen not viewing execution is punishable under Article 58-12."
Ironic, that the chief engineer's last name started with Video plus two F's.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3-SRT8 View Post
This from "Pravda" September 10, 1952:

"The cheif engineer of the Leningrad T-2, Viktor Videoff, was sentenced to death under Articles 58-6 and 58-7 (Espionage and Wrecking) in that he knowingly shared blueprints of this sterling example of advanced Soviet Design with one Vladimir Zworkin of the Radio Corporation of America, who in turn utilized the design in their post-Great Patriotic War 1946 630TS."

"Sentence to be carried out immediately. The execution will be viewed on People's Channel 1, 8:00PM, Moscow Time."

"Viewership is manditory. Failure to view execution is punishable minimum 6 months under Article 58-10. Failure to report any citizen not viewing execution is punishable under Article 58-12."
Where did you find this information?
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:01 AM
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M3-SRT8 M3-SRT8 is offline
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I study history. Lots of it. I find Soviet History to be especially fascinating.

Of course, I made all this up.

The Article 58 RSFSR penal code sub-catagories are from Soviet historical sources.

Last edited by M3-SRT8; 10-11-2016 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by vts1134 View Post
Where did you find this information?
sarcasm
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubesrule View Post
sarcasm

Exactly.
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