When we are talking about Russia, the first thing comes up in our mind is vodka. The word ‘Vodka” is the short version of “Voda”, a Slavic word which means water. This is a good description of how Russians drink vodka, they drink it like water. Russians enjoy vodka with many kinds of dishes, such as herring with boiled potatoes and pickled mushrooms. For Russians, vodka works either as an aperitif or a digestif. They find the taste of this alcoholic beverage tastes great to wash down their food.
Another thing that makes Russia internationally well-known is Russian Dolls or Matryoshka. The symbol-of-nation doll is made of wood. Usually, there are 5-10 dolls in one set of Matryoshka. So, when you open this wooden doll, you will find the smaller version of it. You will find an even smaller one when you open it. The traditional version of this doll has the image of a woman wearing a Russian jumper dress painted on it. But, nowadays, you can find various themes of the Matryoshka, range from the characters in fairy tales to the Soviet leaders.
Those two examples are some of the things that are commonly known about Russia. But, you should also know that Russia is also famous for its automotive industry. The main local brands of Russia’s automotive producers are AvtoVAZ, GAZ (light vehicle) and KamAZ (heavy vehicle). So, do you want to get new experiences about automobiles in Russia? let’s visit Togliatti!
Togliatti The Heart of Russia’s Automobile Manufactures
- The Origin of “Togliatti”
At the beginning of the 1960s, one of the Soviet car manufacturers, MZMA/AZLK, produced Moskvitch 408, a small family economical car. The intention was to make the spread the use of cars among the Soviet people. Other car producers, such as GAZ and ZAZ, offered a few types of cars to be manufactured in a large number. The Soviet government had a target to build an industry site so they could meet the cars’ demand. They also decided that instead of designing a new model for the car, they would use an existing one. Finally, they chose Fiat 124, a small family car, produced by the Italian brand, Fiat. It was chosen because of its simple yet strong building, while also easy to be assembled and repaired.
It took four years to build the industry site. The process started in 1966 and completed in 1970 in a small town called Stavropol Volzhsky. The small town kept on growing until its population was more than half a million. Finally, Stavropol Volzhsky was renamed into Togliatti as a salute to Palmiro Togliatti, the leader of the Italian communist party.
- Automotive Industry in Togliatti
As stated before, Russia’s automotive is very popular. This particular industry plays a significant role in Russia’s economy. At least 600,000 people are working for this sector with up to 3 million people working in related industries. This shows how the country depends on its economic condition on this field and how many people depend on their lives on the sustainability of the automotive industry.
AvtoVAZ, as a large Russia’s automobile manufactures, has its headquarter in Togliatti. In 2009, this giant company employed at least 100,000 people out of Togliatti’s 700,000 people. As a monotown, for sure Togliatti depends on its economy in a single industry, which in this case is the automotive sector. With this status, you can only imagine how the stable condition of AvtoVAZ effects significantly to the whole state of Togliatti and its people.
- Transportation in Togliatti
As a city where the giant AvtoVAZ is based, Togliatti has a well-developed transport system. You can find many kinds of public transports, such as buses (which services are owned by the government) and trolleybuses. You can also enjoy the ride of marshrutka, a shared cab in the form or minibusses.
If you are going out of the cities, you can find many routes covered by Togliatti’s two bus stations, two railway stations (to Moscow and Saratov), and a city harbor. Besides that, there is also an airport. But this one can only be used by private planes. If you want to go on an airplane, you can go to the airport located in Samara, 40 km away from Togliatti.
This city is also connected with the M5 “Ural” Highway. This highway is linked to the central regions of the European part of Russia with the eastern parts which are the Volga region, Urals, Siberia, and the Far East.
If you want to get around the town easily, you can also ride on taxis. During the night time, when you still want to wander around Togliatti, you do not need to worry about how to get back to your hotel. Many taxis are easily found everywhere. The fare is ranging from 150-300 rubles, for sure more expansive than taking buses or trolleybusses which only cost you 30 rubles. But of course, since it’s a taxi, you do not need to make too much stop and you can sit comfortably.
As said before, a giant automobile manufacturer is standing tall in the city of Togliatti. This affects the number of cars existing in this city. There are more and more people having their cars. Although it comes with a consequence, which is the heavy traffic during the day, it is still worth the condition. Why? Because it means family cars are more affordable and people are happy with the quality of it.
Like a city whose economy is depending on the automobile industry, it can be guaranteed that any new inventions or projects in the car manufactured can be discovered initially at Togliatti. So, do you want to get new experiences about automobiles in Russia? let’s visit Togliatti!
- The Development of Togliatti
With the keep-growing population, Togliatti needs to expand the sectors it can rely on to help them to have improved economic. That is why the Special Economic Zone was launched in this city in 2011. Several auto-component producers and large industrial manufacturers have joined this zone. Thanks to this, there were 3000 new jobs created in 2012.
Now we know how a small city like Togliatti runs their economic wheel and exists until now. Interesting, right?