The long discussed proposal to make officials give up their much-loved luxury vehicles has received an official backing from president-elect Vladimir Putin.
The billion-ruble sums of budget money currently spent on VIP-class vehicles would no longer be available for cars assembled outside of Russia and its strategic customs union partners – Belarus and Kazakhstan.
“I believe that all state and municipal authorities, customers and companies who receive funding from the budget, should have to start buying motor vehicles produced on the territory of Russia and the Common Economic Area in the near future,” Vedomosti quoted the current prime minister as saying.
Different rules for the president
The new rules, however, will not apply to the president as well as some other top officials, Vedomosti reported. And even those, who will face giving up their Audi and Mercedes cars, will be offered locally-assembled BMWs.
“We assemble a wide production range in Kaliningrad, from BMW 3 series to 7 series saloon cars. It’s even possible to order a BMW X6 assembled in Russia,” a representative of BMW’s Russian office told the paper.
The garage of the Presidential Administration has long been one of the company’s main customers, ordering 7 series full-size luxury cars.
Toyota cars, which are also popular among Russian officials, are also assembled in Russia, although the most popular vehicle – the Land Cruiser 200 – is still produced abroad.
No WTO interference
The new rules are not going to interfere with WTO’s guidelines, Putin added during a governmental meeting in Tolyatti, the home-city of the famed Lada manufacturer AvtoVAZ.
Russia kept the right to use its own rules for state purchases, he said, Interfax reported.
And the rules are not going to introduce price limits for car purchases, which amounts to billions according to a Duma deputy from A Just Russia, Gennady Gudkov.
Between 2007 and 2009, the state and state-controlled companies spent 4.5 billion rubles on cars that cost over 2 million rubles each. The introduction of a price limit, proposed by Gudkov and the Communist Party of Russia, hasn’t seen any reaction from other deputies.