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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

State Seizes Gorbachev's Volga

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev has had his official car, a Volga, taken away, in the latest chapter in his long-running dispute with President Boris Yeltsin.


Gorbachev's spokesman, Alexander Likhotal, said the government-supplied Volga was taken away while the former president was away on a three-day trip to Novosibirsk last week.


Gorbachev's security officers were using the Volga, Likhotal said, while Gorbachev himself drove around in a Mercedes, bought by his own foundation.


But when Gorbachev landed in Moscow on Saturday, only the Mercedes was there to meet him.


"Upon our arrival our security men told us that since the Volga was given to Gorbachev personally, and he was not using it personally, the state had withdrawn it," Likhotal said.


Likhotal said the confiscation was a deliberate act of "pressure, connected with what he said in Novosibirsk," where Gorbachev sharply criticized Yeltsin and his government. In another pointed gesture, the Yeltsin-appointed governor of Novosibirsk, Ivan Indinok, declined to meet the former Soviet president during his stay, saying he was too busy.


Gorbachev and Yeltsin have been bitter rivals since 1987, when Gorbachev, then General Secretary of the Communist Party, sacked Yeltsin as First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party. In June 1992, Yeltsin confiscated the official black ZiL limousine that Gorbachev had been given when he stepped down as president of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev was supplied with the Volga as a replacement.