Lukashenka found yet another method of topping up the treasury: fee to be paid during the crossing of the border

2005 2005-06-30T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The state customs of Belarus becomes a fee-based institution, reported Radio Liberty. Belarusian and foreign citizens will have to pay to cross the border, says the decree signed by Aliaxandr Lukashenka on 29 June.

The right of levying such an impost is delegated to the regional Councils and Minsk City Executive Committee. According to the decree, it should not be greater than a quarter of the basic unit, which is slightly more than 6 thousand Belarusian rubles or about 3 dollars.

Experts believe, neither Belarusians nor foreign visitors will be happy at the innovation. The lawyer Siarhei Balykin, an observer on the newspaper Belaruski rynak, comments: "This shows that our state is not sufficiently civilized. Because taking money for crossing the border really looks wild. Foreign visitors will be finding fewer reasons to come here for tourism, business, etc. This means that the state does not have any other possibilities to obtain money, for example, from business activity, and it attempts to levy imposts that cannot be avoided".

The former deputy minister of foreign affairs Andrei Sannikau shares the same opinion regarding the commercialization of the state customs. He says that this is really commercialization of the state border, because such practice does not exist. There is a practice of ecological imposts. "I think that it is also some kind of hate on the part of the authorities of the people who leave here for a holiday. We know that the top governmental officials cannot leave for some countries in Europe, for example. First, they do not invite them, second, there is a list of officials barred from entry," noted Andrei Sannikau.