Always one with an eye for optics, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has surely squirmed at his foreign-made Mercedes S600 Pullman limousine. So the Russian nationalist launched a project to produce an indigenous Russian presidential limo, which he debuted among the pomp and circumstance of his fourth inauguration as president for life.
Putin made a short, unnecessary, trip in the limo from the Kremlin's Senate Building to Andreevsky Hall for the purpose of showing off a prototype of the 'Project Cortege.'
The car's name is “Aurus," which is a mashup of “aurum,” the Latin word for Gold, and “rus” for Russia.
"Potemkin village" is a term from the Russian military leader Grigory Potemkin's creation of Hollywood western movie set-style facades of affluent villages to project the appearance of well-being. This prototype car is certainly then a "Putin limo," capable of transporting the president 700 feet at a low speed, but without many of the necessary functional capabilities of a real presidential limo.
Those would include armor, communications and medical equipment of the sort provided the U.S. president in his limo, known as "the Beast" for its resulting gigantic size.
Russia has relied on Mercedes-Benz for its limos since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the replacement of the Soviet ZIL limo used previously.
Russia's Sputnik foreign propaganda service reports that the plan is to build the Aurus in volumes of 250 to 300 cars per year for use by government officials. They also say that they will be available for sale to the public starting next year, with a base price of $95,500.
Of course, such a low price for a car in this category defeats the purpose of buying a status symbol meant to project extreme wealth. And buying a Russian car defeats the purpose of many oligarchs of moving as much of their wealth out of the country as possible, which they do by buying foreign real estate, yachts and outlandishly expensive foreign cars.
h/t: The Drive