Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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Russia Scraps Several Key Car Safety Standards As Western Producers Exit Market.

Russian employees work at the assembly line of the Lada Izhevsk automobile plant, part of the Avtovaz Group, in Izhevsk.

Russian employees work at the assembly line of the Lada Izhevsk automobile plant, part of the Avtovaz Group, in Izhevsk.

MOSCOW -- Russia's government has relaxed safety and emission standards for locally built vehicles as it looks to stimulate production following an exodus of Western manufacturers over Moscow's war in Ukraine.

According to a government resolution quietly approved on May 12, airbags and seat-belt pretensioners, which lock seat belts in place in the event of a crash, will no longer be mandatory in automobiles.

The resolution, which will be valid until February 1, 2023, also allows the production of vehicles without anti-lock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability controls (ESC), and emergency signal systems, all standard safety equipment for new cars in most parts of the world.

The safety systems were introduced in car-making standards in Russia after leading foreign automobile makers came to the market in the early 2000s.

However, major car producers have exited the market since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The most recent major automaker to leave was Renault, which on May 16 said it was selling its 100 percent stake in Renault Russia to the city of Moscow, while its 67.69 percent interest in AvtoVAZ will be sold to the state-owned Central Research and Development Automobile and Engine Institute, with a provision to buy back that stake "at certain times during the next 6 years."

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