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Russia's Car Owners Federation To Hold Protest Action

NAKHODKA (RFE/RL) -- Car owners in the Far Eastern Russian city of Vladivostok plan a new wave of protests against increased customs taxes on imported used cars, RFE/RL's Russian service reports.

The Russian authorities significantly increased the duties in January in an effort to protect the domestic automotive industry. That caused numerous demonstrations in the region over the winter and spring.

On June 19, Far East Customs Department head Sergei Pashko said the number of used cars imported into the region since the regulation came into effect decreased by 90 percent.

He also said the amount of customs taxes collected in the last five months was one-seventh the amount collected in the same period last year.

A member of the Initiative Group of Citizens of Nakhodka and Vladivostok, Yelena Rybkina, told RFE/RL the decision to increase the duties harmed Russia's automobile market and the rights and interests of ordinary citizens.

According to Rybkina, the market for imported used cars in Russia has been virtually destroyed.

Activists with the Russian Car Owners Association say they will continue protesting until the new customs duties are repealed.