First Russian PCs

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These are personal computers that are being used in 80s in Russia. Sergei Frolov has them all in his collection.

No IBMs, no “I’am PC and I’am MAC” stuff. Just Soviet and East European stuff. And special Japanese YAMAHA on cyrillics made for Russian schools.

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34 thoughts on “First Russian PCs”

    • The 7th one down looks like a Commodore Vic 20 or Commodore 64. The first one looks like an old KPro or Compaq with an Intel 8086, 8088 or a 80286.The 6th one looks like an Apple II knock-off.

    • The one under the Apple 2 looking computer strongly resembles a computer and a printer that were sold by Tandy in the US at Radio Shack. These would have had 8088 or 8088 chips. They may have even had some kind of Tandy chip.

      • I would be very curious to know what chips were used. I was in equipment design in the 80’s and it was impossible to export uprocessors from USA to Eastern Europe. Technology was very restricted and products for that market had to use 8-bit processors. I believe Cap Weinberger was afraid the Soviets would use the chips to design bombs or something.
        Of course the equipment itself was for making chips, and without good controllers the accuracy of the equipment was limited so I doubt Eastern Europe was able to copy current chips on their own.

        • well, all peripheral chips like eeprom and logic was russian-made. Central processors was original or copy of original, like Z-80, 8086, 80286 and so on (though there was some original CPU designs, but it was official party directive to copy western CPU’s, because of cheap software and so on). I have read that they could copy even 80386, though output of good chips was like 0.5%

  1. They look a lot like the old WANG computers I worked on back in the mid ’80’s. Most were 8088 processors and a few of the really advanced models had 80286 (yes, 286 not 386) chips in them.

  2. I used to work on the top: ISKRA 1030 (Spark). But it’s not first PC-compartible computer in the USSR (the rest is not compartible).

    First was ES-1840.

  3. The second one is Elektronika BK-0011, a rather popular home computer with a strange PDP-11 compatible CPU. I’ve had a very similar model, BK-0010-01.

    One of the most funny things on all these machines a latin keyboard layout which phonetically matched the Russian one (JCUKEN instead of QWERTY). It took quite some time to switch later.

  4. The most bizarre Soviet computer I ever heard of was reviewed in an issue of Creative Computing magazine in about 1982. I believe it was a pre-release version of this thing:

    When the reviewer opened it up, he found pieces of an Apple II motherboard floating in a sea of wires.

  5. Hilarious! They all look surprisingly like US computers with new badging. As has been said, Vic20/64 Amiga or Commodore 128, trs 80, and something from yamaha(?)

  6. Nice, they look almost similar with the H(igh)P(rice) devices what I use today.
    For people how thinks windows is bad: think a operating system from HP look similar today and a license costs about 20.000 € /computer. And people mean is the best one in the world.

  7. Никогда не думал, что кто-то их собирает….

    На Ямахе КУВТ работал в школе аж в 1986 году еще, такая крутизна была… А точно такой же Роботрон стоял у нас на кафедре в Бауманке в 1989 году

  8. Russia do have it’s own clone of i8086, it was named KP1810BM86 or something similar, it was done in mid 80s, and by the end of 80s, russia even had own i386 clone (worked at lower clock than original one)

  9. Most of the Soviet processors and transistors were made from germanium, not silicon (due to the Soviets not having a good supply of silicon), and ran MUCH hotter than equivalent western circuitry….therefore, the Soviet processors could not be nearly as fast as equivalent western designs; physics just doesn’t allow that.

    The US cornered the silicon market during the Cold War to keep the Soviet’s technology always behind the West’s, and it succeeded. There was NEVER a Soviet (or even in today’s Russia) built processor that was as good as a Western processor…also, the Soviet’s initial processor technology was copied..they had no base for processor design outside of the reverse engineered copies they made. You can’t walk before you crawl, and you can’t run before you walk…the Soviets wanted to run right out of the gate and it bit them in the ass in the long run.

  10. I’m an Argentinian big fan of MSX computers, and the last two pics are from a japanese Yamaha MSX model.

    Also you forgot to mention Frolov’s website (barely readable in the last picture):

    Here are the MSX machines owned by Sergei Frolov:

    Argentinian MSX Club (in Spanish):

    Thanks EnglishRussia!

  11. RickRussellTX : yep, its Агат (spelled “Agat”). Soviet Apple II clone.
    ДВК and nimberous PDP clones(becuide discuessed slready), clones of HP and TI scientific programming calulator[by favourite topic].

    and even some early Archimedes, discussed as BBC by someone 🙂

  12. As far as I remember from my highschool years, there used to be steel keyboards, IBM standart, teachers told they were originally made for missile defence centers.

  13. Nowadays, one must think these were low-performance computers and full of defects… But, they teached a lot to many people! The possibility of LEARN was much better than performance, at that time.

    I had an TK-95 (ZX-Spectrum clone) here in Brazil circa 1986, and it was very fun to use! The programming logic I learned in BASIC I still use today!

    So, that’s not about performance as it is today, on an historical context, these were GREAT machines!

  14. A lot of of the processors were made in Bulgaria equally matching (cloning) the western ones. I am unsure how many of them were used in Russia. During the 70’s and 80’s the country accounted for 40% of the silicon industry of the communist countries (though not being part of the soviet block).


  15. russian computers?! dont think so, – soviets copied them from ‘evil capitalism countries’.

    remember the calculator ‘eggog’ thing?


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