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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Not So Fab: More On Russian Goods

Editor: John Ryan's letter to the editor ("Fab Russian Goods," March 15) says that Ellen Verbeek's "Family Talk" last week "smacks of a lack of touch with the quality of Russian consumer goods." As one of the larger exporters of Russian products I'm afraid I have to come down firmly on the side of Ms. Verbeek. Mr. Ryan states that "Russian versions win on price, compete hard on quality and carry locally serviceable guarantees." I have to agree that, when I first got here a couple of years ago, Russian products were a real bargain. Not so today. The duties on foreign goods, combined with scalper pricing of foreign goods by local merchants, have caused the price of most Russian-made goods to increase to the point of being non-competitive. What was truly fascinating was Mr. Ryan's claim that the Russian goods "compete hard on quality." Remote control issues aside, I'll put my Sony Trinitron next to his Rubin any day for comparison and bet you lunch that you can't pick the Rubin over the Sony with a straight face. I happen to have the Vyatka washer that Ryan mentions and during the spin cycle it jumps around the room as if possessed while spitting water everywhere... or at least it used to. I'm now the happy owner of a GE washer and dryer. Mr. Ryan must share his secrets with us if he wants to make claims like "all these goods carry guarantees from their Russian manufacturers and can be repaired with parts bought locally." This is a gem. We buy thousands of items for export and we can rarely, if ever, get spare parts for these items from the manufacturer and only with threats of personal violence have we ever had a warranty actually honored. He does have one good point, however. The Salyut 3 food processor is only $25, which means that you can always buy two or three of them and have enough spare parts to keep one of them working from time to time, that is, if you can find someone to do the repairs. I'd suggest that if Mr. Ryan wants to open a shop to sell all these "fab Russian machines" he won't need much space. Steve Sarich III Talus Corporation Moscow