But it's not a sample of one!
I've read an article about using vibrations to center lens elements during re-assembly. Hence my I-61 remark, I just need a spanner wrench.

Russian glass was made really well, metal parts have measurable tolerances, that were rather strict, and the main problem was the assembly made by hand and the toll that the time took afterwards. Workers were working in a society, where sober people usually cooperated with the regime, vodka was the common way to control the masses, it was used to survive the working day, as well as to socialize on Sundays and holidays, cure diseases and survive the bitter Siberian cold. Also, there was a system of quantity standards (rather, than quality). So if there was a plan to make X lenses, plus 20% to please some people, the lenses could have been produced incomplete, out of incompatible or rejected parts (mixing parts from two production series would be a hypothetical example here).

So yes, cleaning and careful re-assembly will sometimes make things better.