In the pleasant conversation with Steven Bosdijk about Yugos and Zastavas (and Urals and Dneprs) the difference between 'Moscow' and 'the rest of the world' came up. Steven knows what he's talking about. Moscow is a steaming metropolis where the newest, the largest and the fastest cars play their rodeo game.
But you don't even have to go far outside the urban agglomerations to see a whole different world. A world where horse and carts are still fairly common transport. A world that is still teeming with Ladas, Zastavas, Yugos, Skodas from before the VW era and other friendly scribble animals.
'The great wide open'
That slogan is American. But it also applies to Putin's territory. That's because outside the cities, in the vast outlying area, you won't find any garages where they can rest or repair your Lexus or fat Mercedes because they are already happy that they have electric lighting. But electronics is still an unknown phenomenon there.
Those Ladas and the like do not count as status symbols there, but they are already a step further on the civilization ladder than the horse and chariots. It is talked about disgracefully. But for many people they are the contact with the outside world. And that is also because they are less sensitive to maintenance and have less chance of definitive failures than horses. After all, considering the development time, horses are still extremely faulty machines. And a Lada? Every village blacksmith fixes it in between sips of vodka.
Buying there is drawing a chance card
All those cars (and motorcycles) that are carefully building a circle of enthusiasts here, are really not classics there. And they are kept running with all their might and a lot of improvisation. That's why cars and motorcycles - rare and cheap as they may seem - from the former USSR are not a safe purchase for us Westerners. If you want to do business in that corner, and we Dutch like to see opportunities for doing business, you will first have to invest in a network.
Language is a problem, so are distances
Then you have to deal with the fact that most ex-Eastern blockers do not speak English, let alone Dutch and that the area is so large and sparsely populated, while the Internet has not yet penetrated everywhere. Putin pretends to be big, but his entire empire is economically dwarfed. In fact, the similarity between his territory and the USA is that entire pieces are running at third world level. In January 2020, the Russian Federation had 146.745.098 inhabitants. There will be fewer now. After alcohol, Covid has become the big killer on the spot. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $ 1.670 billion. On the map of the European Union, the economy of Russia fits in a small corner. The economy of Russia is just as big as that of the Benelux.
A Kettenkrad as a 'daily driver'
On the other hand, the chance of 'finds' in that region is still quite high. Because how about a Kettenkrad, which, minus its nose wheel, was used as a tractor until recently? And because of the rapid changes after the fall of communism, everything has been looted, disappeared and stored. Stuff is now emerging from that. And that in terms of asking prices they only make a move? Ach: In their eyes, every Westerner is sweetheart.
For the ZGAN (84 km on the counter) beauty in the photos, 20.000 euros was asked. He left for 3.400 euros. Look, and that kind of negotiating space appeals to us!