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c1ue
08-15-07, 04:10 AM
How's this for incentive to keep everything off the books?

I have a shipment coming into St. Petersburg, and have to pay (36%!) import taxes. This percentage BTW applies to all incoming, not just my specific cargo.

So 1) anything black market has already a 26% relative cost advantage.

Then I was presented with several options to pay said tax:

a) cash on the barrel on the 2nd floor, 10% handling fee, instant
b) bank transfer, 8% handling fee, plus 1 or 2 business days
c) check, 3% handling fee plus 4 business days

Of course, both bank transfer and check require keeping money in the business accounts which in Russia pay zero interest. If you keep $500K, then you get 3% or 4% if you negotiate.

Doh!

DemonD
08-15-07, 04:25 AM
Another way to encourage a black market is to make completely illegal anything that you want to be on the black market. (See: drugs, cuban cigars, iranian tapestries and rugs).

Russia as I understand it is known for having very large black markets and has for a long time. I knew someone who lived in the old USSR back in the 1980's and she posited that one of the main reasons Gorbachev ended communism was because the country had just lagged the rest of the world and was decaying, meanwhile enterprising black marketeers were trading and selling everything from jeans to VCR's and tvs and pretty much anything "western."

I have also heard many times about "Russian gangsters" both from when I was on the east coast and now living in los angeles. Russian gangsters as I understand it in the US have no desire to be like Italian mafiosos, rather they just act more like very heavy handed jerks in a business sense, and you don't see Russian mob guys in expensive cars or clothes or anything.

c1ue
08-15-07, 01:22 PM
I knew someone who lived in the old USSR back in the 1980's and she posited that one of the main reasons Gorbachev ended communism was because the country had just lagged the rest of the world and was decaying

I subscribe to Gaidar's notion: that Stalin's decision to implement a communal farming program caused the Soviet Union to produce less grain in 1970 than in 1930. As a result the Soviet Union had to start buying grain, and with the collapse in oil prices in the 90's was unable to both gain more debt and service existing debt.


I have also heard many times about "Russian gangsters" both from when I was on the east coast and now living in los angeles. Russian gangsters as I understand it in the US have no desire to be like Italian mafiosos, rather they just act more like very heavy handed jerks in a business sense, and you don't see Russian mob guys in expensive cars or clothes or anything.

As with all walks of life, there are many categories of 'gangsters'. Certainly the soldier types don't dress or drive well, but neither does the truck driver.

On the other hand, the line between 'legal' business and 'gangster' is sometimes very blurry. In general I subscribe the term gangster to those who promote illegal activities - money laundering, prostitution, illegal gambling, extortion, etc while businessmen often must resort to bribery to get some things done. (not me!)

The high level guys definitely have lots of the fancy stuff though.

DemonD
08-15-07, 10:53 PM
clue, in russia i'm sure.

In the US, I too am referring to engaging in "illegal" activities. You don't see or know of any russian gangsters driving bentleys and living in gazillion dollar homes. I believe the reason that is is because they want to be under the radar of law enforcement, and as I understand it they do that pretty well. Just your average "millionaire next door" types lol.

Anyway yeah they learned from the Italians how not to do business in the US. And I'm willing to bet the fact that they learned how to toe the black and grey market lines in the USSR and Russia has given them an education in how to supply that demand in the US.

medved
08-15-07, 11:54 PM
How's this for incentive to keep everything off the books?

[.. c1uless whining deleted ..]

Doh!

Why are you so surprised? This is the way they always did things in Russia.

Dobro pozhalovat' v Peterburg!

m.

c1ue
08-19-07, 03:07 PM
Medved,

Yes, I am not really surprised that Russia would have a combination of non-pareil black market agility combined with near paralyzing bureaucracy.

Still, it is galling to be so transparently discouraged from 'white' activities.

Are you on of the 2 iTulipers in Russia?

Ya ni gavroo pa'russki - mozet bit' chu chu

Cyrillic chtenye...

medved
08-19-07, 03:55 PM
Medved,

Yes, I am not really surprised that Russia would have a combination of non-pareil black market agility combined with near paralyzing bureaucracy.

Still, it is galling to be so transparently discouraged from 'white' activities.

Are you on of the 2 iTulipers in Russia?

No, I am one of the many iTulipers from California. I am also a former citizen of the former USSR. I lived in several parts of it including Petersburg, where I got my engineering degree.

m.