The end of the Volga

The World

The Volga still claims its hearts with Moscowites who remember a better time with the king of the Soviet road. This man stands tall besides his 1998 model. He has a life long love affair with a car even he admits isn’t the best. He should know, this is his sixth Volga. He says it’s like a first love, but there’s no doubt it’s not as good as foreign cars. Sentimentality is getting the Volga nowhere. Here is the reality: sales of the Volga are down, way down, and far more popular are cheap Hyundais. It wasn’t always like this. As recent as 2005, Putin showed off his most recent model of the Volga. The Volga was born in the 1950s for the mid-level Soviet bureaucrat and was built to withstand the Russian winter and tough roads. It has a strong engine and rust-proofing that no other car could match. It was big and solid, and soon became the preferred car for taxi companies and police, and KGB agents. This former spy turned parliamentary admits sadness at seeing the Volga past. But with the end of Communism came the end of the guaranteed Volga sale, and Russians started embracing Russian, Japanese and even U.S. models of cars.

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