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Line of Luxury Autos Could Be Designed for Officials

A design for a new, modern ZiL by Svyatoslav Saakyan, a former designer at the ZiL plant, created in 2010. Former President Dmitry Medvedev had ordered his administration that year to look at renewing production at ZiL to make cars for officials, but a new project likely will not use ZiL.

The Kremlin has revived an idea to commission the design and production of a series of luxury cars for use by bureaucrats, a Kremlin spokesman said Monday.

A project is underway to enlist a Russian carmaker to make multiple models of luxury cars for use by officials, including for use in official motorcades, Viktor Khrekov, a spokesman for the Office for Presidential Affairs, told Interfax on Monday.

Former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010 ordered his administration to examine the possibility of renewing the production of limousines at legendary Soviet carmaker ZiL, with the goal of using them for government officials.

In December, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov presented sketches of a new ZiL at a government meeting. But the production of an improved ZiL limousine was not on the president's agenda at the time, Khrekov said that month.

Khrekov told Interfax on Tuesday that ZiL would most likely not be the producer of a new line of luxury cars, saying other options were being examined. He said details on the project could be announced soon.

GAZ Group is being considered for participation in the project, unidentified sources in the car industry told Kommersant in a report published Monday. GAZ made cars used by officials in the Soviet Union, the paper said.

The project was revived this year after President Vladimir Putin said in April that all "state and municipal" officials should only purchase cars produced within the countries of the Customs Union, which includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakstan, the Kommersant report said.

State officials currently employ a range of foreign-made cars, including those produced by BMW, Mercedes and Ford.

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