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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Envoy: Yeltsin's Sweden Visit Will Include Volvo Bus Deal


Russia will sign a deal to build buses and trucks with Swedish automaker Volvo next week during a visit by President Boris Yeltsin, the Swedish ambassador to Russia announced Wednesday.

The deal is due to be signed Dec. 4 at the Volvo headquarters in Gothenburg by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and a Swedish transport ministry official, ambassador Sven Hirdman said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Yeltsin will visit Stockholm from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, but he decided not to go to Gothenburg to avoid an excessive workload, Hirdman said.

The ambassador did not say whether the deal involved a Russian automaker. According to some reports, Moscow truck and limousine manufacturer ZiL is interested in joint production with Volvo.

Nemtsov said cooperation with the Volvo company was discussed during his meeting with Swedish businessmen Wednesday.

"The Volvo company is unhappy over my campaign [to replace foreign cars in which top officials are driven with Russian-made cars] and wants all Russian officials to use its cars. This can come true only if Volvo builds its own plant in Russia," he said.

Volvo plans to boost its presence in eastern Europe, especially in Russia, a booming market for car sales.

Volvo currently sells some 2,000 of its cars and 300-400 heavy vehicles annually in Russia, where they are valued for durability -- a key factor given the country's bad roads and harsh winters.

Volvos were the vehicles of choice for the Kremlin until March, when Nemtsov instructed top officials to prove their patriotic credentials by switching to Russian GAZ cars from Nizhny Novgorod -- his former stronghold on the Volga.

Yeltsin and a delegation of Russian businessmen including Rem Vyakhirev, head of gas giant Gazprom, plan to meet Swedish business bosses in Stockholm, including Volvo and Ericsson managers, Hirdman said.