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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

State Aids Troubled ZiL Plant

Russia's government is putting money behind its words on the need to protect domestic industry, allocating $55 million to develop a new line of ZiL limousines and placing a long-term order for a new generation of cars. An order from Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin said the government promised to buy at least 24 ZiL cars a year from Moscow's Likhachyov factory, which makes the big black limousines favored by Soviet leaders for generations. The order could be a lifesaver for the Moscow firm, which is balancing on the brink of bankruptcy amid a payments crisis affecting thousands of Russian firms. ZiL, one of the biggest enterprises in the Moscow region, groups 14 firms and once employed 100,000 workers. But demand for its products has fallen sharply amid industrial slump. Shining black ZiL limos carrying elderly Kremlin leaders became a symbol of the declining Communist empire.