Russian Economic Reform


It’s time to sack Andrei Belyaninov!

At a forum last week, Prime Minister Medvedev was questioned by a German businessman about Russia’s notoriously bad customs procedures.

Medvedev replied:

«Когда я разговариваю с руководителем нашей таможенной службы [Андреем Бельяниновым], он мне задает вопрос, на который не так просто отвечать, он говорит: вы сами определитесь, чего вы от нас хотите, чтобы мы просто контролировали порядок ввоза и вывоза товаров, чтобы законы соблюдались — это одна цель, или вы хотите, чтобы мы зарабатывали для государства большие деньги — это другая цель, и мы [сейчас] этим занимаемся».

“When I talk with the head of our Customs Service (Andrei Belyaninov), he asks me a question that is not so easy to answer when he says: you decide what you want from us; that we just control the order of entry and export of goods so that the laws are respected – this is one aim; or do you want us to earn big money for the state – this is another aim, and we are (now) doing that.”

Medvedev went on to say Russia needs to get the “proportions” right between “opening the road for business” and raising revenue. While too much can be read into Medvedev’s choice of words, I am tempted to ask whether the choice being offered by Belyaninov is really between enforcing the law or acting as a “by any means” revenue raiser for whoever can get their hands on it!

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Published on July 15 2012

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