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The History of Russian Customs


The current Russian word for Customs, tamozhnya, originated in the times of the Mongol-Tatar yoke. The word tamga, in Tatar, meant " a Customs tax, the official who collected it, and the stamped seal or statement verifying that it had been paid".

Each market had its tamozhnya, and the right to collect duties could be purchased from the State. This right was often acquired by powerful merchants.

The Russian Customs Service, however, predates even the Mongol Yoke. Some three centuries before, in Kievan Rus, taxes were collected for the transportation of goods through the frontiers of its individual princedoms.

Thus, Russia has had a Customs Service in some form for the past 1000 years. The first Russian Customs statute was handed down in 1667. It was strict towards foreigners, who were allowed to trade only in frontier towns on pain of confiscation. Every tsar, from Peter the Great to Nicolas II, approved laws limiting the import of foreign goods and defending Russian producers.

During the Soviet period foreign trade was strictly monopolized in the USSR and Customs neither had any significant function in the economy or played any important role.

Much was done to create Customs legislation in Russia in the period 1991- 94. Two important laws were adopted: "The Customs Code of the Russian Federation" and "On Customs Tariff" All provisions and regulations in these documents are of the world standard.

Russia has the world's longest border to police, much of it newly created and has a modern, multi-functioning Customs Service. It carries out the same functions as the Customs of other developed countries: fiscal functions, regulation oа foreign trade by means of tariff and non-tariff methods, law enforcement, collection and keeping of customs statistics concerning foreign trade, etc.


2.2.1 Give the English equivalents of the following collocations:


fiscal function customs legislation non-tariff method

law enforcement tariff method foreign trade regulation



2.2.2 Find in the text the words which follow the verbs below:
to collect to keep out to approve to limit

to defend to bring to create to carry out


2.2.3 Find the words/phrases in the text which have the following meanings:

1) to give, to pass 5) function of public revenue

2) to show the truth of 6) benefit, profit

3) borders 7) to adopt (a law)

4) at the risk of 8) renewal of friendly relations


2.2.4 What words in the text mean:

a) to buy, to get

b) to keep safe, to guard

c) rule made by authority


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