The first Pobeda was developed in the Soviet Union under chief engineer Andrei A. Liphart. "Pobeda" means "victory" and the choice of name was not accidental. The car's first tests were conducted at Gorky Avto Zavod (GAZ, Gorky Car Plant) in 1943, when victory in World War II began to seem likely. The plant was later heavily bombarded, but work was unaffected. The first prototype was ready on November 6, 1944, and after it gained approval the first production model rolled off the assembly line on June 21, 1946. The car was a successful export for the USSR, and the design was licensed to the Polish FSO factory in Warsaw, where it was built as the Warszawa beginning in 1951. A few were assembled in Pyongyang, North Korea.
The Pobeda was the first Soviet automobile to have turn signals, electric wipers (automobiles before it had pneumatic or mechanical wipers whose speed would depend on that of the car), an electric heater, and a built-in AM radio. The car came to be a symbol of postwar Soviet life and is today a popular collector's item.