By Nurgul Khairullina
Walls in the garage of Vladimir Slotin are covered with cuttings from old newspapers discolored to yellow over the course of time. In the center of the venue stands the pride of its owner - Volga Gaz-M21. After leaving the assembly line at Gorki automobile plant, to foreign audience known as GAZ, in March of 1968, it found itself in this man's ownership in 1970. To truly serve him for 43 years.
"I am going to sell it. I don't want to, but my health has been getting worse recently, it's harder to be in the driver's seat these days and servicing it requires much vigor, says the old man. - Many wish to buy it. Buyers used to come to me even before I chose to sell it. For its "age" the vehicle is in good condition thanks to proper maintenance."
- Any difficulties passing tech inspection? How traffic police officers regard your old car?
"I pass tech inspection on a regular basis. Normally, no defects are found. For all my life I worked as a technician, therefore I well know the condition of my vehicle. Road police rarely stop my car, if they do, that's just for personal curiosity."
- What fuel do you use?
"80 RON fuel"
Faithful to the make-haste-slowly principle, Vladimir is very concerned over increasingly frequent car accidents in the streets of our city.
"So many people get killed or mutilated in crashes. I never speed over 40-50 kmph. Some young drivers, angry with my slow riding, often swear at me. Most of them buy driver's ID and get behind the wheel with no responsibility. That's why accidents happen."
On Volga throughout the whole country
"Together with my wife Svetlana, I used to travel around the country [the Soviet Union] a lot. Take a vacation and go! recalls Vladimir. - We drove to Ukraine, Latvia, Moscow, Kaliningrad, Volgograd and almost every city in Kazakhstan. Not a single time this Soviet "Mercedes-Benz" broke in journeys. Some say it is made of the steel used in tank manufacturing. We often slept inside the car with no fear of being robbed at the motorway. Nowadays, one won't dare to do that..."