Russia’s finance minister suggested government officials should get driven around in cars made by a state-owned company to help support domestic businesses amid the war, Gazeta reported.
Anton Siluanov said on Thursday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) that the state should take on the business risks for the sale of domestic goods and ensure there is demand for products made by Russian manufacturers, per Gazeta.
As an example, Siluanov said the state should transport its officials in Lada cars, Gazeta reported. Ladas, which were first produced during the Soviet era, are built by the state-owned manufacturer Avtovaz. The vehicles have had a reputation for being clunky and unreliable.
Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday in response to Siluanov’s suggestion that “every public servant in this country is ready for anything,” Russian state media outlet RIA Novisti reported.
Avtovaz was forced to make its latest vehicles without airbags, anti-lock braking systems, or emergency retraction locks on seat belts, NBC reported. It suggests 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 keep operating so it has a future, per Gazeta.
During his speech, Siluanov said the state should focus on manufacturing products in Russia and work with their allies, Gazeta reported.
Since Siluanov’s comments about officials being transported in Ladas, a spokesperson from Avtovaz told Gazeta on Thursday it’s ready to provide officials with the vehicles if the state requests them.
Avtovaz didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Siluanov’s suggestion comes as Western companies continue to pull out of Russia in the midst of the Ukraine war. Ikea is the latest firm to announce it was scaling down its Russian operations, including closing its four factories in the country.