Vladimir Putin's Lada Niva Is Totally Bad-Ass

The Lada Niva is the coolest Soviet-era vehicle still in production. Given that, it makes sense Russia's alpha-male "not-president" Vladimir Putin has purchased a totally awesome camouflaged and off-road-ready version.

The car is as much a publicity stunt as anything else, with Russia's de facto leader posing in the car in order to encourage buyers in Russia's down automobile market. That doesn't cloud the sheer awesomeness of this Niva though. It's outfitted with an array of available options including a grille guard, winch, roof rack, a snorkel and... what's this? Gasp! American-made BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A tires? The greedy hand of the capitalist pigs reaches very far. Anyway, the car was trotted out for the press where the Prime Minister of Russia extolled the virtues of the brutish little car and invited some of the press to take it for a drive. Wonder if he'd let us take it for a spin? (Thanks for the tip Michael)

[USAToday]