Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lada Forever

I liked this juxtaposition of the old and the new in Yalta this past summer--a Lada in front of an Oriental pagoda style mansion under construction. The Lada is the iconic Soviet car that first began production in the early 60s in Togliatti, the Russian town named for a leader of the Italian Communist party. The original model was based on the Fiat 124 and adapted for Russian winters.
It's the car Russians love to hate--sturdy, long-lasting, totally unfashionable. Ladas were sold in a number of foreign countries--the UK, Canada, Brazil, among others, and they are still quite common in poorer parts of the former Soviet Union. Just a few days ago two Russian policemen were killed by gunmen who were driving a Lada in Grozny, Chechnya.
Today only the name lives on in a new high-performance car totally unlike the original Lada.


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