Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Forerunner of Capitalism (Part 1)

It is no secret that immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union in all former socialist republics, the personal car fleet of the citizens began to rise rapidly. This active replenishment of vehicles was mainly due to imports of used cars, about which the absolute majority of the citizens of the fraternal republics could not even dream before the collapse of the Soviets.

In Armenia, until the early 90’s, the number of foreign cars was so tiny, that one could count them on the fingers of both hands. Except for the trophy cars brought to the USSR after the WW II, the fleet of the so-called exclusive cars basically consisted of the representatives of the American automobile industry. The undeniable leader among the “Americans” was always the Cadillac brand.  For the Soviet man, Cadillac was not just a symbol of luxury, but it also personified the freedom, of which he was dreaming in the depths of the soul.

Arrived in Yerevan during the soviet period, this Cadillac DeVille was one of the first forerunners of the capitalism. This car of 1984 production was brought in the late 80’s by Samvel Grigorian, a successful entrepreneur and connoisseur of American cars. At first, the Republican traffic police flatly refused to register the car explaining that civil servants, thus, would not cooperate with speculators (so called businessmen at that time). Without registration, it was impossible to drive the car in the city, so the owner had to confine himself to short drives in the immediate vicinity of his house. Only in April 1996, he managed to obtain state registration plates and technical documents. As seen in the photo, the plates bear special numbers for those times.
To be continued…