Jeffrey LewisPlushkino Traffic Jam

This past August, a Russian TEL carrying an SS-25 ICBM broke down along a road in Russia, causing massive traffic jam. It made the news immediately, replete with images of the disabled TEL and angry locals stuck in the traffic snarl.

A colleague pointed this out, as an illustration that we live in a very different world than my Cold War childhood. No kidding.

Apparently the TEL broke down along the road into the town of Plishkino, in Irkutsk. For something like six hours, the dumbfounded unit struggled to tow the TEL the rest of the way.  All the while, traffic piled up. Deliveryman, Russians on there way to their dachas, you name it.  And they were irritated.

The best part of the television coverage, I am told, is that if you can speak Russian the reporter is clearly not buying the Russian military officer’s insistence that the breakdown was all part of a planned exercise. Apparently, the TEL was not carrying an actual missile.  Still, high comedy.

Irkutsk Vesti and Baikal TV both carried stories, including lots of images.


  1. JohnLopresti (History)

    жаль! which is what people say when things don’t work according to plan (‘pity’). I notice lots of tall conifersin some images, though in the top screenshot even a broadleaf tree still with foliage in December; and people in shortsleeve shirts, must be above freezing temperatures.

    • AndyL (History)

      JohnLopresti, I believe Jeffrey said it was in August.

    • JohnLopresti (History)

      приятно! [nice]. Of, course “AndyL” ‘s observation is right, and its reference appears in the first words of the author’s post. My regrets for the seasonal inaccuracy in my initial comment.

  2. Artjom Hatsaturjants (History)

    Jeffrey, that’s not a TEL. That’s a refuelling vehicle which doubles as a driver training vehicle.

    No actual missiles involved.

    • Jeffrey (History)

      Watch the video at about 1:45.