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30 August 2000

The fire has been put out, the tower may be saved and a temporary transmittor has been erected and some broadcasts have been restored.  But with 4 people dead the fire at Ostankino is the latest in a series of tragedies to befall Russia and is, according to Vladimir Putin, symptomatic of the country's ills.

When the tower was completed in 1967, it was the tallest free-standing structure in the world, today only  the CN Tower in Toronto is taller.  It stood as a triumphant manifestation of Soviet engineering and its faith in the communication technology that would keep the Soviet Union together.

The Soviet Union has fell apart but even the upheavals of 1991 and 1993 failed to cut transmission from the tower (having been subject to a violent armed battle at the TV centre in 1993).

An electrical short-circuit in a piece of recently installed equipment appears to have caused the inferno; however, it has been seen as a damning indictment on the negligence, underinvestment and poor maintenance which are causing Russia's infrastructure to crumble.  
Ostankino tower
Opened in 1967
World's second tallest free-standing structure
Height 540 metres (1,771 feet)
3 Dining rooms
Broadcasts 30 TV and radio stations

More information on the tower can be found at:

Sozuz for Sale   |   Ostankino TV Tower fire   |   Russia's National Anthem   |   Consecration of Christ the Saviour Church   |   Stalin's face on new coins   |   Queen Mother Honoured   |   President Putin   |   Mir Space Station   |   Chechnya   |   Worker & Peasant Statue   |   Russian Champagne