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It was one of the Soviet status symbols:

One image purportedly shows the president’s study bedecked with ornate mahogany furniture and featuring the secure landline phones used by top Kremlin officials.

There were different telephone networks. Public, military, senior military, party and so on. The more phone handsets you had on your desk the more plugged into the different networks you were – the higher your social status. So, the phones got lined up on the desk to show off your status.

Fun how archaic status symbols still matter, no?

12 thoughts on “Titter”

  1. Typically misleading headline.

    I was expecting a solid gold palace, or at the very least solid gold furniture and bathroom fittings.

  2. I can remember this one. The phone that led to the outside lines (With the line selector box. You have ten) The phone for the City internal phone network (multiple lines) The office internal phone.
    But the Russians have very antiquated ideas of status, don’t they? Tossers. True status is a single phone. You have people to organise who’s on the end of it.

  3. Of course the ultimate status is no phone at all. You’re far too important to talk to people.

  4. bloke in spain said:
    “Of course the ultimate status is no phone at all. You’re far too important to talk to people.”

    Umberto Eco wrote something along these lines in the ‘90s, when mobile ‘phones were just starting to go mass market; the clueless bought them and had long, loud conversations that they thought made them look important. But, as he said, the actually wealthy or important don’t have a ‘phone, but instead have someone to whisper in their ear when they really need to know something.

  5. @RichardT
    The dawn of the mobile era was an amusing one. Seeing all those City Slickers & estate agents with one arm a foot longer than the other from carrying them around.
    They were good though. So powerful you could toast bread on the aerials. Clear signals in sub-sub basements behind steel doors.

  6. My memory of the start of the mobile phone era was reading vague talk in the newspapers. I naturally assumed that, like fusion power, it was 10 years or so in the future.

    Then one day I wandered down town and saw all these young Japanese girls sitting in a line and chatting on their phones.

    Perhaps what this really shows is that I was just getting old!!

  7. The point of the telephone is that you can get information directly from the horse’s mouth; rather than hearing Chinese whispers from your sycophants.

  8. Is there any reason to believe that report?
    Looks more like smearing the glorious leader than actual solid truth.
    Bit like Trump and the urinating harlots..

  9. “Is there any reason to believe that report?”
    Knowing quite a lot of Russians, yes. Exactly what he would have. And he has solid gold taps on his bath as well. The peasant in Russians runs strong & deep.

  10. Any reason to believe it?

    Welll you’re talking the Evil Russki who kindly reignited the Cold War for the geriatric warhawks barely hanging on. “Leaked” to and published in the entirely non-partisan western media…
    I suspect some embellishment here and there, with no way to check.

    Then again, Putin is the top russian oligarch and warlord. And as such very, very wealthy.
    He’s also a Thradhithionalist, and as such has a need to show off his power and wealth to keep the ambitious career makers in line before “unfortunate accidents” are needed.
    Like a classic Mafia Don, this can be done by letting his family, and the mandatory trophy mistress ( and just the one!!) live in luxury, and let guests see this.

    The man himself could be living quite frugally, for all we know. He does have a touch of Vetinary about him…

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