Russian customs officers marking their professional holiday October 25

Russian customs officers are marking their professional holiday, i.e. Customs Officer's Day, as well as the 350th anniversary of the Russian state's integral customs system, today, October 25.

A modern state customs service didn't emerge in this country before the 17th century, reads a statement by the Russian Federation's State Customs Committee press service, issued today. According to the document, a decree on charging customs duties, which was signed by tsar Alexei Mikhailovich October 25, 1653, became the first standard law for overhauling the national customs infrastructure.

The Russian customs service, i.e. the State Customs Committee, was established in 1991, that is, soon after the Soviet Union's collapse, moving to protect this country's economic interests. Right now, it comprises seven regional customs departments, four specialized regional departments, 139 customs houses and 694 customs outposts. The State Customs Committee's divisions employ more than 68,000 staffers. The national State Customs Committee transferred more than 543 billion roubles (over $18 billion) into the federal budget over the January-September 2003 period, which is 16 percent more than the government-set targets, the statement reads in part.

The new Russian customs code was passed in the spring of 2003, with the State Customs Committee perceiving this as a landmark event. The customs code's provisions call for completely overhauling the customs-administration system. One can therefore say that a large-scale customs reform has now commenced in the Russian Federation, the document notes in conclusion.

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