Putin’s Gift Raises Concerns, Can Kim Jong-un Use Russian Luxury Car with Confidence? | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Putin’s Gift Raises Concerns, Can Kim Jong-un Use Russian Luxury Car with Confidence?

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The Aurus Senat limousine presented by President Putin to Kim Jong-Un this time, the first Russian-made luxury car in more than 20 years. The image shows it in action during the G20 Osaka Summit.

On February 18, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency reported that President Putin presented Kim Jong-Un with a Russian-made luxury car, the Aurus, as a token of friendship.

This Russian-made luxury car is the model that President Putin uses as his personal car, and was introduced by President Putin himself during Kim Jong-Un’s visit to Russia last September.

The price of the bulletproof sedan type car is estimated to be about 82 million rubles (about 168 million Japanese yen), and the brand has several models, including a sedan, van, SUV, and limousine type.

Kim Jong-Un made an agricultural inspection on March 15. On that occasion, the use of an Aurus Senart limousine was confirmed for the first time.

This gift is, of course, a violation of the UN sanctions resolution, but Russia is appealing to its close ties with North Korea, and as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia does not seem to be concerned at all about violations of the resolution. It is said that the limousine was presented to North Korea as part of a return gift for North Korea’s support of arms and ammunition for the war in Ukraine.

In fact, the Aurus was once brought to Japan for Putin’s domestic transportation at the G20 Osaka Summit in ’19, along with other types for security purposes. The manufacturer has not released any of these vehicles in Japan, and it is almost impossible to see them in Japan again unless Russia restores its relations with all countries, including Ukraine.

President Putin, like Kim Jong-Un, had long used a Mercedes-Benz as his presidential car, but he has been using the same car since the inauguration ceremony for his fourth term in May 2006.

Under President Putin’s order to develop his own exclusive car, a number of state-run companies participated in the competition, and NAMI, a state-run company that manufactures the Aurus, won the prize. Until the early years of the Yeltsin administration, the Russian presidential car was a Soviet-made car.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un is also using an array of luxury vehicles that give no indication that he is violating UN sanctions resolutions or anything else.

In December of last year, a Maybach S650, the top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W222) model, was newly introduced, according to footage from Korean Central Television and other sources.

In November of the same year, video footage also revealed that the Maybach GLS600, a Maybach SUV model, was being used. In addition, at least two limousine-type Maybach S650 Pullmans, Maybach’s highest-end model, were used in the videos from December of last year and February and March of this year, indicating that all current models, which should not normally have made it to North Korea, were being actively used.

The S600 Pullman (W221), which had previously been used by Kim Jong-Un, can be seen in a video of the prime minister using it, and in December of last year, party leaders were seen driving the Mercedes themselves to the party congress venue, giving the impression that he is giving up his beloved car to further pledge his loyalty to it.

Kim Jong-Un always uses the latest in everything, including cars, and it is forbidden for senior party officials to use anything newer than that.

However, one wonders to what extent Kim Jong-un will use the special car he received as a gift this time.

Last year, Kim Jong-Un traveled to Russia, China, Singapore, and Vietnam, but he usually does not use the cars provided by the countries he visits, and he is very careful to bring his own car from North Korea.

He is said to use the toilet not only in hotels but also in his private car to avoid the possibility of leaking his health condition, not to mention eavesdropping. His cronies collect his excrement and bring it back to North Korea.

Kim Jong-Un is said to be a car enthusiast. Since Kim Jong-un has just introduced the aforementioned Mercedes-Maybach series around the end of last year, this gift may actually be a thankless inconvenience for him.

Until then, Kim Jong-Un’s favorite car, the S600 Pullman (W221), had been brought to the countries he visited during his outings to China, Singapore, and Vietnam. There were multiple cars in existence, and he also used a Maybach 62S, among others. Kim Jong Il also used a Pullman in his later years while in office.
Mercedes Maybach S650 (W222), whose use was first confirmed at an event last December. It is, of course, bulletproof, but its mounting hardware suggests that it may be a genuine manufacturer’s model (photo by Chosun Central Television).
The Maybach S650 Pullman (W222), a limousine type of the aforementioned Maybach. It is seen here upon arrival at the inspection site with her daughter, Kim Joo-ae (Photo: Korean Central Television)
The Aurus Senat limousine was first confirmed in use on March 15. It differs slightly from the one used exclusively by President Vladimir Putin in that it has additional flashing lights in the grille in addition to the standard flashing lights on both sides of the license plate (Photo: Korean Central Television).
The center of the body side is equipped with the North Korean national emblem, similar to the emblems on other Kim Jong-Un cars. The trunk section is equipped with two antennas for communication (photo by Korean Central Television).
  • Photography, Reporting, and Writing Takuma Arimura

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