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Russia: New Border Tariffs Imposed On People And Goods

Moscow, 11 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Russia's official government newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, published the text of a new federal law yesterday which imposes new tariffs on people and goods crossing the country's borders. The complex law, which is several newspaper pages-long, was signed by President Boris Yeltsin last month and took effect yesterday.

Under the new regulation, individuals entering or leaving Russia must pay customs officials a fee equivalent to 80 percent of the minimum monthly wage, currently 75,900 roubles (about $14). But it is not clear if the new tax applies equally to Russian citizens as well as foreigners. A tariff for road vehicles will also be imposed depending on their size and the load they are carrying. The new tariffs also apply to trains, with each coach being treated as a separate vehicle, to passenger planes and ships.

International airline officials, contacted by AFP yesterday, said they were not aware of the new regulations.

The law says border guards will have the right to extend visas for foreigners in areas where no Russian consular service is available. Until now foreigners had to apply to either the foreign or interior ministry to have their visas extended.

The fee for an extensions of up to 10-days will be 10 times the minimum wage, and for more than 10 days -- 17 times the minimum wage.

The extra income generated by the new tariffs is intended to go towards developing the borderguards' service.