Russian Glory — ដំរី ទឹក បុរាណ មួយ

russian zil 131 6x6 army truck, in cambodia

A Soviet ZIL 131 military truck.

Some classic soviet muscle in the shape of a ZIL 131. This model was rolled out in 1967, and I have no doubt that this one is that old….

It offers a general visual encapsulation of all Russian vehicles; it is both intensely practical and aesthetically horrifying.

In Khmer, they call these things a domrey tuk (ដំរីទឺក; literally a hippopotamus) because of its incredible ability to maneuver through mud. Watching these grumble down a swampy jungle track is a sight to behold, with all 6 wheels lurching through waist-deep mud. A massive PTO winch comes standard.

It’s almost impossible to get one stuck. Unless the transmission goes; so then again, maybe it’s pretty easy to get one stuck.

Back when I lived in Cambodia in the mid-90’s, a huge percentage of vehicles were from the former Soviet Union. There were UAZ jeeps and vans everywhere. Even today, old Russian trucks like this GAZ 4×4 or the venerable ZIL 130 are ubiquitous across the Cambodia countryside, a sort of glimpse into the Communist past of Cambodia.

I took this photo back in 2006, of a similar russian vehicle slogging through the muck on the highway between Pleiku Vietnam and Banlung, Cambodia.

old soviet military vehicle, stuck in the mud in Ratanakiri, Cambodia

Another soviet military truck; I took this back in summer of 2006

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