Russia’s finance minister suggested government officials ride in cars made by a state-owned company to help support domestic businesses during the war, Gazeta reported.
Anton Siluanov told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday that the state should bear the business risks of selling domestic products and ensure there is demand for products made by Russian manufacturers. , according to Gazeta.
As an example, Siluanov said the state should transport its officials in Lada cars, Gazeta reported. Ladas, which were first produced in Soviet times, are built by state-owned manufacturer Avtovaz. The vehicles have a reputation for being clumsy and unreliable.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday in response to Siluanov’s suggestion that “all officials in this country are ready for anything,” Russian media RIA Novisti reported.
Avtovaz was forced to manufacture its latest vehicles without airbags, anti-lock braking systems or emergency retraction latches on the seat belts, NBC reported. This suggests that the company has suffered from the impact of Western sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
Siluanov said on Tuesday that the state will buy airbags for Ladas and ensure the company can continue to operate so it has a future, according to Gazeta.
During his speech, Siluanov said the state should focus on making products in Russia and working with its allies, Gazeta reported.
Since Siluanov’s comments about officials being transported to Ladas, an Avtovaz spokesman told Gazeta on Thursday that it was ready to provide the vehicles to officials if the state requested them.
Avtovaz did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Siluanov’s suggestion comes as Western companies continue to pull out of Russia amid the war in Ukraine. Ikea is the latest company to announce it is reducing its operations in Russia, including closing its four factories in the country.