RUSSIA — The first Soviet luxury limousine, the Chaika, was assembled at the GAZ car plant exactly 30 years ago. The automobile was presented to then Soviet leader Leonind Brezhnev in 1976 on his 70th birthday, and serial production began in 1977. The luxury vehicle’s name means "seagull' in English.
A rare instance of quality produced by the Russian automotive industry, Chaikas, which are believed to have been inspired by the American Packard, were built to cater to the Kremlin, top military brass and Soviet embassies and trade delegations abroad. The assembly line was suddenly shut down in 1988 as part of the state-run campaign to curb the excessive privileges enjoyed by Communist Party bosses. Chaikas were replaced by Volgas, a less popular vehicle, at the same plant. These vehicles will go out of production within the next two years.
Source: Novosti – Russian News & Information Agency