Once upon a time a TASS night-time editor picked up a ringing phone and – lo and behold – there was Stalin’s voice on the other end. The supreme leader wanted to know the current Dow Jones index.
The story was told to me by a veteran reporter for the Soviet news agency, but even he did not know what happened next. I personally doubt the editor even suspected the existence of such indices and it remains a mystery what he told Stalin.
However, from that time on, all TASS editors would meticulously collect and keep all the DJ charts – just in case. What is known for a fact is that never again had any Soviet leader called TASS with that question, but the tradition survived through the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.