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Germany is destroying its automobile industry, Putin says

"We should help them somehow," the Russian President added with a smile

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Germany is destroying its automotive industry now, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"They are destroying their automobile sector now," the Russian leader noted. "We should help them somehow," he added with a smile after telling an anecdote about how it was Russia that got the German auto industry off the ground. "Not only," Putin said, in response to a question about whether the current decline is in any way related to Russians not buying German.

The anecdote in question came up when the President toured the Sber pavilion at the Russia Expo exhibition and forum, where he heard a story about Nikolay Kristofari, the first depositor of Sberbank.

Zakhar Zaitsev, who conducted the tour, mentioned Kristofari’s contribution to the German automobile industry. The events took place in the 19th century. The Russian noble needed to have his watch repaired during a trip to Europe. Kristofari found a suitable workshop and was so impressed by the workmanship that he felt he had to talk to the craftsman, thus learning about his dream to create an automobile. He then proceeded to give him ten rubles in a show of goodwill.

The young craftsman was Carl Benz. He did indeed invent that automobile later, creating a company along the way that is now known as Mercedes-Benz.

"So we can categorically say that the German automobile industry began with us," Zaitsev said with a smile after the story. "We are the financiers!" Putin agreed with him.