Support The Moscow Times!

On This Day in 1896 Russia Unveiled Its First Car

The Yakovlev-Freze never became a household name.

The Yakolvev-Freze. pro-nn.org

In July 1896, Russia presented its first car — the Yakovlev-Freze — to the world at an exhibition in Nizhniy Novgorod.

Designed by Russian engineers Yevgeny Yakovlev and Pyotr Freze in St. Petersburg, the car looked like an elegant open carriage with large wooden wheels. It seated two and had a top speed of 21 kilometers per hour.

The pair were inspired to design a vehicle after they saw the German Benz model at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The Russian car cost 1,500 rubles to buy, a bargain for the time as it was half the price of its German and French counterparts.

Tsar Nicholas II, the Russian ruler at the time, never used a Yakovlev-Freze, and it never became a household name.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.