“Автомобиль — не роскошь, а средство передвижения!”

As Odessan folk hero Ostap Bender was known to say:  “The automobile is not a luxury, but a means of travel.”

Now poor Ostap is rolling in his grave, as his beloved Odessa mourns the death of a once-thriving Ukrainian auto industry.

This piece is the eulogy.  This translation of the leading paragraph pretty much says it all:


Ukraine’s auto industry is dead.  The country has finally and completely halted the production of light vehicles.  The government prefers to blame Russia for this – and not without a grain of justification.  But the main causes lie in a whole series of mistakes made by Kiev, and made, by the way, long before Maidan.  To this backward agrarian country, an auto industry is actually not needed.


Ostap Bender would beg to disagree with that final sentence.

Paraphrasing him just a tad, he might have retorted:

“Ударим автопромом по бездорожью, разгильдяйству и бюрократизму!”.

“With our auto industry [actually “auto racing” in the original], we will strike a blow against the lack of roads, against sloppiness and bureaucracy!”

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