Posted 28 ноября 2022,, 11:07

Published 28 ноября 2022,, 11:07

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

You can’t figure it out without a bottle: why fake vodka in Russia is being stored for years

You can’t figure it out without a bottle: why fake vodka in Russia is being stored for years

28 ноября 2022, 11:07
Фото: Соцсети
The procedure for the destruction of counterfeit goods will require multibillion-dollar expenditures from the state budget.

Sergey Baimukhametov

The State Duma adopted in the first reading a bill on the destruction of confiscated counterfeit alcohol. It would seem that with this question, everything should have been clear for a long time. But no, the situation is confusing.

Members of the Federation Council Anatoly Artamonov, Sergei Ryabukhin, Vadim Dengin proposed an important amendment to the existing law: to allow the destruction of confiscated counterfeit alcohol and equipment for its production after three years of storage - moreover, extrajudicially, by decision of the executive authorities. The bill was submitted for consideration in January. And for 11 months he lay practically motionless. Except for the positive feedback from the government and the very vague conclusion of the Legal Department of the State Duma - with a statement of the well-known points of the current legislation:

“The consideration of cases of administrative offenses under Article 14.17 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, by virtue of Part 1 of Article 23.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, is carried out exclusively by a judge, in connection with which the decision to dispose of the main technological equipment is made by the judge and cannot be assigned to the federal body for control and supervision ...

The crime provided for by part two of Article 1713 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which establishes criminal liability for the illegal production and (or) circulation of ethyl alcohol, alcoholic and alcohol-containing products, is a crime of medium gravity, in connection with which the statute of limitations for bringing a person to criminal liability for its commission is six years."

That is, for 6 years it is necessary to store "singed" vodka and equipment, whole plants - as material evidence.

Consideration of the bill began at the end of November. Senator Sergei Ryabukhin reported to his parliamentary colleagues:

“During these seven years of law enforcement practice, 864 illegal production plants were seized. Currently, budget expenditures for the storage of confiscated products and equipment amount to over 70 million rubles a month ... A huge amount of illegal products has accumulated, stored in special warehouses and awaiting court decisions.

It seems that only this amount should, to put it mildly, impress the deputies. It will certainly surprise ordinary Russians - 980 million people's money a year for the storage of "scorched" water.

However, there was no heated discussion or approval in the Duma. They asked only three or four clarifying questions, suggested not to destroy, but to process alcohol.

Deputy Andrei Kuznetsov:

“We are now canceling the norm, which the legislator has established for a reason… I have not heard the rationale: what is the reason for the accumulation of such a huge amount of counterfeit (or it has not yet been recognized as counterfeit) alcohol? Why is the court's decision not made in a timely manner, in order to unload all this? Will it not turn out that we are now simply moving to methods of direct action, increasing the corruption potential of this process, you understand? Because when the court decides, this is still a lower level of corruption than a direct decision of an official.”

Deputy Sergei Leonov, on behalf of the LDPR faction, announced: "We will not support such a bill."

However, as a result of more than a brief consideration, everyone unanimously voted "for" - and adopted it in the first reading. Not a single “against” or “abstention”.

In conclusion, I will cite the data of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy.

Since 2015, the specialized organization Rosspirtprom JSC has removed from the places of seizure for storage and destruction more than 135 million liters of illegal products and more than 5.5 thousand pieces of equipment for its production. More than 4 billion rubles were spent from the federal budget for the storage of the seized property. Currently, more than 48 million liters of seized illegal products and more than 1,000 tons of equipment are being stored awaiting the decision of the courts. At the same time, more than 30 million liters of products are stored for more than three years.

What is 4 billion rubles? For example, the government-owned Rossiyskaya Gazeta recently reported that the Arkhangelsk region (with a population of 1,020,307) “will receive an additional 3.2 billion rubles from the federal budget. These funds will be invested in the development of the rural hinterland, in the agro-industrial sector, in improving the environmental situation in the territories of Pomorie.”

In 2021, according to experts from the Higher School of Economics, the volume of illegal circulation of strong alcoholic beverages amounted to 27% of all products on the market.

That is, the increase is constant.

Efforts to restore order have been made for many years. For example, 4 years ago, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin instructed the Ministry of Finance to develop measures to destroy counterfeit alcohol on the spot, immediately upon discovery. But carts (warehouses) of counterfeit vodka are still there. As we see, such issues are not resolved by one order of the Vice-Premier. Lots of legal nuances. And, probably, rightly so: after all, private property (even confiscated) is sacred and inviolable. But why do we have to wait 6 years for a court decision?

It is proposed to destroy (without trial) counterfeit alcohol after 3 years. This means that not 980, but “only” 490 million will be spent annually.

Deputy Alexander Aksenenko reasonably asked: “The question is about the terms: three years of storage - why can’t the term be reduced to a year?”

In a word, everything is confusing. It would seem, in the obvious case. And it doesn't get resolved. As people say, you can't figure it out without a bottle?