The Russian president allegedly has a collection of more than 700 cars shrouded in mystery
The Russian military offensive in Ukraine has put the spotlight on one of the conflict’s most enigmatic figures: Vladimir Putin. The Russian president, who came to power 22 years ago —and who signed constitutional changes that allow him to be in power for two more terms, until 2036—, has been portrayed as a lover of extreme sports and characterized by his cold decisions and relentless.
In addition to enjoying long recreational trips fishing and hunting in Siberia,
Putin has been seen behind the controls of modern Sukhoi 35 fighter jets, as well as driving a Formula 1 Alpine car on a St. Petersburg circuit. This passion for mechanics, coupled with his strong influences, has led him to amass a private collection of over 700 vehicles, allegedly.
However, everything that surrounds the figures of Russian power, and especially if it is the president, is shrouded in opacity and it is difficult to know with certainty the vehicles that make up his garage. These are just some of those who have been seen driving the most powerful man in Russia in public.
Until Putin came to power, Russian presidents used foreign brands for their presidential vehicles. It was easy to find them being transported in Rolls-Royces or Mercedes, but, perhaps encouraged by the big Cadillac limousine Bush ordered, called ‘The Beast’, he decided to create the Russian counterpart of it.
Specifically, the Aurus Senat began its development in 2012 and became its official car in 2018, once it had passed all the safety tests – until then, it used a Mercedes S-Class. Its creation was carried out by the Nami Institute, the creators of the first Soviet car.
Some of the elements that the Senat has are a hybrid engine with more than 600 hp designed in conjunction with Porsche, the ability to reach 100 km/h in less than six seconds, a weight of seven tons and, of course, , plate and glass attack-proof shielding. Its muscular design has made it a coveted luxury model in Russia, and Aurus has started selling a civilian version.
Putin pays tribute to the history of his country and his personal journey by having a Volga in his collection. Considered “the official car of the KGB”, the Soviet espionage agency – in which the president began his political career and which would later become the FSB -.
The GAZ-21 was the largest and most luxurious car officially sold to private customers in the Soviet Union. It had a 2.4-liter gasoline engine, which developed a power of 70 hp. However, the version for KGB agents had a special engine, a 160 hp V8 capable of reaching 170 km/h.
Few modern cars are as instantly recognizable and associated with Russia as the Niva. The understated off-roader, in production since 1977, has proven to be very capable off-road, thanks to its short wheelbase, ground clearance and mechanical gearbox.
Putin’s Niva, which accompanies him on his Siberian travels, has been modified to have more power and even more ‘off-road’ capabilities, since the production model has a naturally aspirated 1.7-liter gasoline engine that delivers just 83 hp of power.
Known as “the clumsiest Soviet car”, the ZAZ-968 was the first car of the Russian president. His mother won it in a lottery when Putin was barely 20 years old and gave it to him. According to the president, he “has traveled thousands of kilometers on board” and sold it to a fellow KGB officer. Later, when he held the most important position in Russia, she took it back.
The introduction of the ZAZ was part of the USSR’s strategy to have an affordable automobile industry for the population, following the example of Volkswagen. Also called “the Soviet Corvair”, the ZAZ-968 only shared similar lines with it, since its engine barely delivered 41 hp and the quality of the finishes was questionable.
Despite its refined appearance, the Mercedes-Benz ML is an SUV with outstanding off-road capabilities, which will have caught the eye of the Russian president. Putin was seen driving one of these that he personally owned in 2017 on a trip to the
The ML is one of the best-built, well-equipped luxury SUVs with powerful engines—in the case of the 500, it develops 306 horsepower—capable of reaching 100 km/h in seven seconds.