About five minutes after departure, as the aircraft was flying in an area of thunderstorms about 20 miles northwest and climbing through about 9,000 feet, the crew experienced an electrical failure of unknown origin. The captain began flying the aircraft by hand. The crew managed to establish radio contact with an unknown party using its UHF radio. The Russian report becomes a bit confusing here, only explaining the crew was unable to make contact with ATC. The pilots switched their transponder to code 7600 confirming the loss of communications.