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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

TV Gaffe Sparks Conspiracy Talk

Conspiracy theories abounded Friday when a live transmission of President Boris Yeltsin's long awaited declaration speech on ORT Russian Public Television was abruptly interrupted by a commercial, then followed by a British soap opera.


As viewers waited for Swan Lake to appear on their television screens, as it did during the abortive coup of 1991, Yeltsin was nowhere in sight. Instead, romantic triangles and children's cartoons were all there was to watch.


Yeltsin disappeared from screens almost immediately after pronouncing the words: "Of course I made mistakes. It was particularly bitter when I made mistakes in my assessment of people."


Had someone taken offense?


Apparently not. The explanation was much simpler.


"The problem was that we never intended to show the speech until the news at 9 p.m.," said ORT's Alexei Pushkov. "We wanted to just give an introduction to the event and show everyone walking into the room. Then, when Yeltsin started his speech earlier, there was no way of changing the screening plan."