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Russian Lawmakers to Lose Free Gas Privileges for Driving Foreign Cars – Izvestia

The headquarters of Russia's lower-house State Duma. duma.gov.ru

Russian lawmakers will lose their free gas privileges for ignoring President Vladimir Putin’s calls to stop driving foreign cars, the pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia reported Wednesday, citing a senior member of Russia’s lower house of parliament. 

Putin ordered officials in August to support sanctions-hit domestic carmakers by giving up foreign-made vehicles.

Senior State Duma officials notified executive authorities in Russia’s regions this fall that all federal lawmakers will be required to ditch foreign cars in favor of domestic brands from Jan. 1, 2024, the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday, citing an anonymous source close to the Kremlin.

“Starting Jan. 1, the State Duma will stop accepting documents required for the reimbursement of motor transportation expenses for cars of other [non-supported] brands,” Yana Lantratova, deputy chair of the State Duma’s Education Committee, told Izvestia.

Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry maintains a list of supported brands, which include Lada, UAZ, Moskvitch and Aurus, as well as the Chinese carmakers Evolute and Haval.

Russia’s car manufacturing industry is one of the sectors hardest hit by Western sanctions and the mass exodus of foreign companies that followed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

In response, Moscow has sought to bolster the sector through the nationalization of foreign plants — including those of Toyota, Volkswagen and Renault — and the revival of Russian car brands.

Government purchases of foreign cars in Russia more than doubled in the first six months of 2023, the state-run TASS news agency reported in August.

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