Starting in 2013, FCS law enforcement units have conducted criminal investigations into customs evasion and cash smuggling. In 2020, they received the same authority over criminal cases on tobacco and alcohol smuggling. Last year, the FCS proposed giving customs officials the authority to conduct investigations in criminal cases on currency regime violations. The initiative was supported by the Ministry of Finance, the FSB and the Prosecutor General's Office and is included in the Russian government’s legislative agenda for 2022.Customs fulfilling the plan
The FCS is penciled in to transfer RUB 6.226 trillion to the federal budget this year. In the first nine months of the year, it transferred RUB 4.796 trillion, almost RUB 220 billion higher than the implied target for nine months. It seems confident that it will hit the full-year mark.
Meanwhile, the financial support provided to business in the form of exemptions and preferences is estimated in Bulavinov's reports at RUB 850 billion over the past 10 months and to come to RUB 1 trillion by the year-end. The figures include exemptions from customs duties on 1,318 goods considered “critically or socially important” by the government. Since the exemptions were put in place, 6.3 million tons of the goods worth $24 billion were imported. Customs was also affected when 297 aircraft, which had previously been temporary imports (being leased from Western companies), were not returned to their owners (made possible by a government decision) and were used inside the country, meaning RUB 264 billion in lost customs payments.Customs as donor
The FCS has the right to donate certain confiscated goods – medical products, baby food, perishable food, clothing and footwear – to schools, kindergartens, hospitals, social welfare offices and other government organizations.
On November 23, the Duma passed amendments
to Article 325 of the Law on Customs Regulation
that expanded the list of goods that state organizations can donate. It includes food in original packaging, household appliances, children's goods and "rehabilitative technologies." The initial proposal entailed allowing good donations also to private charitable organizations – now prohibited by law – but in the end only one was included: the All-Russia People's Front.
On its books in 2020, the FCS had 20,500 confiscated goods, worth more than RUB 8.5 billion, while in the first half of 2021, 7,400 goods, valued at RUB 5.2 billion, were confiscated. Currently, the government spends as much as RUB 160 million a year just to store the confiscated foodstuffs at customs.Parallel imports
So-called parallel imports – importing original products without getting permission from the rights holders – were legalized in May. Their volumes nearly doubled from May to September. There is a list of such products approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, consisting of 52 categories. The volume of goods imported as parallel imports amounted to 1.6 million tons as of end-October, including more than 1 million tons of “critical imports” – those that came under sanctions and now can’t be officially imported into Russia. The value of the parallel imports comes to $12.6 billion, with “critical imports” making up slightly more than half at $6.7 billion.Adapting logistics
Amid the sanctions, there has been a reorientation of commodity flows, and customs posts (especially those going east, which includes the borders with China, Azerbaijan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Turkey) are working round-the-clock. Still, those going west aren’t completely blocked – about 800 trucks a day from European countries pass through Russian border crossings and about 600-800 through Belarusian checkpoints. This is medicines, food and other goods that haven’t been hit by the sanctions.
The main container shipping lines have closed and the number of containers under the watch of customs in the Baltic and in the south has noticeably declined. Container traffic is growing in the Far East, meanwhile, with an average of 13,000-15,000 containers processed daily.