The reasons for buying vehicles in Armenia are painfully simple and understandable: cheap customs clearance (10% versus 48-54% in Russia), low transport tax at the place of registration and a pleasant bonus - the absence of foreign license plates in the Russian traffic police database, due to which the owners of such cars do not receive fines.
The “capture” of drivers in cars with Armenian license plates began in January 2020 from Nizhnevartovsk. There, customs officers confiscated the Toyota Camry from the owner. They promised to return the vehicle for 800 thousand rubles - no, this is not a bribe, this is the difference in customs duties in Russia and Armenia.
In March, a wave of seizures reached Severodvinsk, where they took two cars. In June, five cars were already detained in Kurgan. In July, the hunt for "violators" reached Chelyabinsk, and then touched Stavropol and Krasnodar Territory, where the license plate of the seized cars is in the hundreds. The traffic police explain that all violators allegedly drive cars that are improperly registered. Although the cars are registered correctly, but on the territory of another country - Armenia, which is a member of the Eurasian Customs Union.
“My wife has a car with Armenian license plates. Purchased in October 2018. We just started raids on the roads. Cars are selected. They are placed in impound parking lots. In Kurgan and Chelyabinsk, there are already facts of the rapid sale of arrested cars through auctions. What should we do now? How to proceed? The vast majority of us are law-abiding purchasers. And they used the opportunity that the state provided at that time. It turns out that more than a third of a million families can be left without vehicles only because someone messed up somewhere, ” Andrei Tretyakov wrote on an open site on the Internet.
“I myself own a car registered in Armenian, and when buying a car there were no restrictions and rules, but then they came to their senses ... People did not go there for cars because of a good life, but because here they shove“ trash heaps ”(cars of the middle segment) for exorbitant money, when it is more interesting to take a reliable Japanese car for a small amount”, - added Ivan Kalashnikov.
At the same time, the Russians who bought a car in Armenia all as one say that before buying they asked the customs officers whether they would be able to freely travel across Russia, whether they were in danger of anything for this. They were assured that everything would be fine. Now the license plate of car owners with Armenian license plates in Russia is about 300 thousand. And now they are faced with a difficult choice, in which there is nothing good: go through customs clearance in Russia, which will cost 2-3 times more than the car itself, sell cars in Armenia at extremely low prices due to market oversaturation, or give the vehicle to disassembly.
Alla Amirkhanyan, a resident of the Stavropol Territory, told NewsTracker that she decided to buy a car in Armenia because of the price-quality ratio. During the customs inspection at the Georgia-Russia checkpoint (Upper Lars), she asked what she should do to avoid problems. To which she was told that within the framework of the customs union she was “in the green corridor”, the only thing was that she needed to take out insurance.
“For some time I was a happy owner of a car from Armenia. But in early July, unrest, fines began, and we turned out to be the injured party", - Amirkhanyan said.
Since 2017, vehicles registered in the Republic of Armenia and imported into the territory of Russia are still goods of the customs union for personal use, says lawyer David Parazyan. However, the traffic police believe that the owners need to declare this product and pay the difference between the customs duty paid in Armenia and the unified customs duty approved by the EAEU.
According to Amirkhanyan, she bought a 2012 car for 400 thousand rubles. Now, in order to clear a car through customs in Russia, it needs to pay about 900 thousand rubles. Thus, the car will cost 1.3 million rubles - this is how much a new car of this brand costs, says Amirkhanyan.
Otherwise, she, like other owners of Armenian cars, will be brought to administrative responsibility under Part 1 of Article 12.1 of the Administrative Code (driving a vehicle that is not registered in the prescribed manner). She entails a fine in the amount of 500 to 800 rubles, in case of repeated detention - 5 thousand rubles or deprivation of rights for a period of 1 to 3 months.
In addition, in the absence of customs documents, the owner of a car with Armenian license plates faces a fine of 500 rubles with the arrest of the vehicle (part 1 of Article 12.3 of the Administrative Code - driving a vehicle by a driver who does not have the documents required by the traffic rules).
However, the owners of Armenian cars believe that the traffic police are not entitled to apply these sanctions to them. The petition, entitled “They want to take our cars away from us”, which they created on the Change.org website, says that “all Russian citizens who have bought cars in the Republic of Armenia have a vehicle registration certificate issued for citizens of the Russian Federation”...
“The customs authorities had to oblige the citizens of Russia to declare the vehicles they bought in the Republic of Armenia directly at the customs service post “Georgia - Russia”, and to formalize the temporary import of vehicles into the territory of the Russian Federation. But these actions were not carried out by the customs service, therefore, not a single Russian citizen who bought a vehicle in the Republic of Armenia has documents confirming temporary import and a tax return, ”the injured car owners report.
In a petition, they propose to the government to provide a simplified system for registering cars in Russia with the payment of state duties, to allow temporary registration of cars, and to declare a moratorium on the seizure of vehicles.
“We bought cars in the Republic of Armenia, brought them to the territory of the Russian Federation, passed all customs posts: these are the Armenian-Georgian border and the Georgian-Russian border. The customs officers completed all their procedures and freely released us into the territory of the Russian Federation, of which we are citizens, so that we could use our property. We used it for a relatively short time: from 2017 to 2020. And in the summer it became known that our vehicles are considered foreign goods and are subject to customs declaration. As a lawyer, having studied the legislation in this area, I understood only one thing - there is simply a conflict in the norms of law, ”said Parazyan.
He believes that the requirement for customs clearance is illegal. “Because the issue of customs declaration is our right. We may or may not use our right”, - the lawyer noted.
Lawyer, human rights activist, head of the "Center for Assistance to Motorists" Sergey Kuzin also believes that there is an incorrect work of the Federal Customs Service. In his opinion, a unified automated system should be created in Russia. “The customs service, when letting a car with foreign numbers into Russia, must collect the necessary data about the person who enters the country on it. That is, you need to bind the car number to a living person, you need to take information about his place of residence, where he will receive fines. And when a person wants to leave the territory of Russia, release him only if he pays all these fines, "Kuzin shared in a conversation with Novye Izvestia.
A similar scheme was proposed back in 2013. Then it was planned to create a single database where the FCS will enter data on vehicles crossing the border. Traffic police cameras would then be able to install according to foreign license plates of car owners and issue fines. However, this has not yet been done.
But the problem is not just traffic fines. A whole system of settlements and relations has been built under Russian customs duties - both with the budget and, for example, with global automakers, which open their factories in Russia under the government's obligation to suppress the massive import of second-hand equipment from other countries and other markets. Armenian "amateur performance" inflicts tangible damage on this system.
And besides, driving a car with the foreign license plates is absurd for any self-respecting country. Laws, including customs, should be the same for all citizens.