The world is holding its breath as the 2018 FIFA World Cup gets underway with hosts Russia beating out Saudi Arabia in the opening game at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. This year’s month-long soccer competition will feature 32 teams, divided into eight groups. A total of 12 stadiums across 11 cities in Russia will welcome more than one million fans from around the globe and an estimated global television audience of more than three billion viewers will join them.

To celebrate the 21st edition of the World Cup, we’ve gathered the coolest and most memorable vehicles made in Russia decades before the competition kicks off. “We want to show to the world the new Russia, open and hospitable in every sense,” is what the country’s sports minister in 2010, Vitaly Mutko, told the press when Russia won the right to host the World Cup in 2018. We will go the other way around and show you what automotive triumphs the old Russia had.

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Honorable mentions: