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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hot Lines for President's Envoys

Soon the upper echelons of government will receive a new status symbol. In addition to the president’s nuclear suitcase and the nomenclature’s hot lines, another technical gadget is to be added: new devices with special decoders to allow the president to speak directly and confidentially with his seven representatives in the federal districts.

The apparatus, a box 40 by 40 centimeters, is being perfected by the Morion company in Perm. Established in 1957 and now privatized, Morion developed telecommunications equipment for the Soyuz-Apollo space mission, the 1980 Olympics and for 85 percent of Moscow’s telephone exchanges, wire services have reported.

Morion management refused to discuss the project’s progress until production gets under way. "You announce it now, something doesn’t work and you’re left feeling pretty embarrassed," said an official who asked not to be identified.

The Perm firm has a $35,000 contract with the Federal Communication and Information Regulatory Agency, or FAPSI, to produce 22 of the devices. One is intended for the president, seven for his representatives and FAPSI will hold on to the rest.

These hot lines for the 21st century will use the public telephone network and essentially carry out the function of a modem, but with an important addition: Data will be encoded and protected. The boxes have an extra chip for encoding conversations and will transmit them in sections. Only the device’s twin at the receiving end will be able to decode the information.