Putin bans state officials from buying foreign cars
State officials in Russia are to be prevented from buying expensive Mercedes, Lexus and other foreign saloons in a bid to cut costs and boost the domestic auto industry.
Lines of expensive cars outside the Kremlin and government offices have become a symbol of excess among bureaucrats and the ruling elite. Last year, there was a public outcry when the finance minister of the impoverished Dagestan region published a €220,000 tender for an Audi A8L, while the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, is known for his fleet of Porsche Cayennes.
The initiative comes after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Tolyatti, the city where the Lada is produced, this week.
Mr Putin announced during the visit that all state departments must buy cars produced in Russia, Belarus or Kazakhstan -- which have a common economic space -- "in the near future".
"Bureaucrats will no longer be able to buy an amazing BMW with leather upholstery," said a state newspaper.
Mr Putin has made several stuttering attempts to support the domestic car industry. In 2010, he drove through Siberia in a Lada Kalina, calling it "reliable" and "comfortable". The car was later reported to have broken down. Officials will not be obliged to switch to native brands. Renaults, Volkswagens and Fords are produced in Russia. (© Daily Telegraph)