Russian Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin will soon trade in his BMW for a vehicle that’s sure to stoke envy (and maybe fear) in Moscow drivers: The defense chief is buying a military-grade Tigr troop carrier, also known as the ‘Russian Hummer.’
Rogozin is currently in process of purchasing an unarmored version of the GAZ-2330 ‘Tigr’ (Tiger) five-door offroad combat vehicle, Izvestia daily reported
“I’ve been telling that [the] Russian defense industry can do quality non-military products,” Rogozin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s switch from ‘trophy’ to domestic!”
Some Russian owners of German-made cars pay homage to the Soviet soldiers who stormed Berlin in 1945, ending WWII, by inscribing ‘War trophy’ or ‘To Berlin’ on the rear windows of their Audi, BMW and Mercedes cars.
The various modifications of the Tigr resemble the dimensions of the US HMMWV (Humvee). The Tigr, however, can carry more armor, has a larger payload and a slightly higher range and max speed than the Humvee. Tigrs previously were only used by the army and police.
Tigrs have grown in popularity for civilian use in Russia among those wealthy enough to pay for surplus military hardware. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and its parliamentary faction, bought a Tigr in 2006. Oscar-winning film director Nikita Mikhalkov reportedly owns four Tigrs.
The Russian Machines Corporation, which produces the Tigr in Arzamas, a town in the Nizhniy Novgorod region, announced that the vehicles will now use domestic-made YMZ-530 turbo diesel engines.
Tigrs previously used diesel engines imported from the US. Civilian buyers still can order vehicles with American engines.
Rogozin reportedly placed the order for his Tigr as a private buyer, and will pay for his personal ‘troop transporter’ out of his own wallet. The basic civilian model of the Tigr starts at $100,000.
The civilian version of the Tigr will be similar to the standard offroad version used by police with two major differences: A lack of armor (optional for the security-concerned customer) or specialized communications equipment.