Russian Federal Customs Service (FTS) is to open a new special customs post in Abkhazia, according to the September 12 order signed by Vladimir Bulavin, head of the FTS.
The new post, to be located in Sokhumi, will belong to the Federal Customs Service, and its staffing table (five persons) has already been defined and included in Bulavin’s order. Entire Abkhazia is to be included in its jurisdiction area.
The order, which is to come into force on November 1, specifies that the decision to open the special customs post in Abkhazia is based on Moscow’s October 2010 “agreement on cooperation and mutual help in customs affairs” with the Russian-backed Sokhumi authorities.
The text of the agreement allows Russia to establish a “specialized customs agency” in Abkhazia, for the purpose of “customs registration and customs control of the goods and (or) means of transportation,” transferred from or through Abkhazia to Russia. It also allows such “specialized customs agency” to “implement measures” in Abkhazia, directed at “discovering and suppressing violations of law related to the transportation of such goods.”
According to the agreement, the customs post will conduct customs registration and control in accordance to the customs law of the Russian Federation.
Besides, the “specialized customs agency” will enjoy the same status as the one envisioned for diplomatic missions by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. The status and immunity for the post’s employees and their family members is also to be covered by the Vienna Convention.
Creation of the Moscow-controlled customs post with jurisdiction over Abkhazia follows the establishment of the “Joint Information-Coordination Center of Internal Affairs Agencies”- another agency that envisions permanent stationing of the Russian security personnel in Abkhazia.