16 february 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Federal Customs Service Head Andrei Belyaninov

Vladimir Putin and Andrei Belyaninov discussed the results of the Federal Customs Service’s work in the preceding period and in the first 45 days of 2011. Mr Putin noted that the Federal Customs Service had done a successful job last year, as highlighted by the revenue collected and by the amount transferred to the budget. Mr Belyaninov said customs officers will be able to fulfil the government’s 2011 plan, although they will have to work hard to do it.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Belyaninov, can you tell me about the results of your work last year and in early 2011?

Andrei Belyaninov: Mr Putin, I would like to briefly go over our indicators (showing charts). This chart shows the revenue collected by the Federal Customs Service since 2000. I would like to draw your attention to the last three columns. This is the pre-crisis year (pointing), and this is the small decline during the crisis year. Last year, we were virtually back at 2009 levels.

Vladimir Putin: Missed it by that much, right?

Andrei Belyaninov: Yes, by that much. We were somewhat apprehensive, as the operational phase of the Customs Union had been launched, so we were busy drafting framework documents and analysing the level and nature of cooperation with the customs services of Kazakhstan and Belarus. But as you can see, we didn’t suffer a loss. We beat our objective. These are overall indicators. And this shows our import figures.

Vladimir Putin: That’s 4.3 trillion …

Andrei Belyaninov: We have collected 4.3 trillion roubles, including 1.8 trillion roubles for imports and 2.5 trillion roubles for exports. And these are our figures for hydrocarbons.

Mr Putin, I believe our service has done a good job. If you don’t mind, I would like to ask you to give the appropriate state awards to our high achieving officials. There are some good people who should be commended.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, there are.

Andrei Belyaninov: We have also been quite effective during the first 45 days of 2011. Although we had expected some stagnation in January, as usual, we, nevertheless, exceeded 2009 totals, and moved back up to 2008 levels. I think we will also be able to fulfil the rather tough government plan for 2011 and collect the required 4.7 trillion roubles, although we will have to work hard to do this. We realise that there’ll be some challenges down the road.

Again, we should reassess the state of our cooperation with the Customs Union nations. I think we need to enhance our level of information exchange and better synchronise our processes. Although I’m optimistic about the future, I realise there will be some hard times ahead.

Just like all other federal executive bodies, we are bracing ourselves for a 20% job cut. We anticipated this. I don’t think there will be any major social upheaval. Mr Putin, we prepared for this when you set the objective to streamline customs clearance on the Russian Federation’s borders. All this is now taking place. We continue to implement this concept today. I believe it continues to yield specific results, and that it will receive a positive review.

Vladimir Putin: I would like to thank you and all your personnel for these results. The Federal Customs Service really was successful last year, as highlighted by the revenue collected and by the amount transferred to the budget. Your work was important in 2009, when the country was emerging from the crisis.

At the same time, some divisions need to be better disciplined. I like jokes, and I also like a good laugh. But amateur performers should display their talents at a customs cultural centre. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Andrei Belyaninov: I understand what you’re talking about. These young and talented people didn’t quite realise where the proper place to use their talents actually is.

Vladimir Putin: They should use their talents elsewhere, but not in the workplace, where they should be thinking about fulfilling the current customs legislation, which is their professional duty.

Andrei Belyaninov: Mr Putin, talented people are talented in every respect.

Vladimir Putin: I don’t question this. I’m merely suggesting that such talents should be applied elsewhere. This should be done outside the office.

Andrei Belyaninov: Mr Putin, we’ll take this remark into consideration. This will never happen again. Thank you for your criticism.

Vladimir Putin: Good.