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Minskyy Avtomobiliniy Zabod, transliterated from the Cyrillic. Minsk Automobile Factory, translated from the Russian. Located in (surprise) Minsk, Belarus, this delightful little company is right up there (and perhaps better than) Caterpillar or Mitsubishi for producing some of the best heavy machinery since WWII.

Now, Mitsubishi can make machines that are efficient and cheap to use, and Caterpillar can make a machine that's just as good and a little tougher with a fatter price tag (both to buy and to use). But how many companies can claim to have made the road-mobile missile launcher that made Desert Storm a fun war to watch on CNN? That's right, Saddam Hussein's other car is a MAZ-543! When you think SCUDs, think MAZ! They also make most of the road-mobile equipment associated with Soviet-built ICBMs, so when you think nuclear deterrence, think MAZ!

Not only that, but at a sticker price that would make capitalist companies blush, your totalitarian government can buy a MAZ-made chassis with as many as 8 powered, steerable axles, and 16 wheels with "pump-on-the-go" tire pressure, for less than a comparable Western truck! But honestly, tovarisch, there isn't a comparable Western truck. If it is a liquid and it will burn, you can pour it in the gas tank and press the "CTAPT" button with the confidence of Lenin himself! What's more, how many American vehicles will start when it is -30 degrees Celsius outside? When you think reliability, think MAZ!

Last but not least is the property Americans call "user friendly". A MAZ is not "friendly" to anything, but if you can drive a stick-shift, you can drive a MAZ. Train your conscripts quickly, without the expensive bullets and bloody counter-examples that come with a steeper learning curve! The engine is durable, and rewards even the most obtuse mechanic. Attempted repairs will, most of the time, get the MAZ to drive again, however slowly or haltingly. Truly a marvel of superior Soviet-era engineering, MAZ redefines "elegance" as "the minimum amount of brute force required to do the job, times an arbitrary integer larger than three."

Buy one now, Comrade! The Rodina does not coddle even the prettiest children!

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