Cargo Trains Smuggle Cigarettes from Belarus into the European Union

From: Belarus Digest

Since 2014 the pattern of illegal exports from Belarus to EU has moved towards larger consignments. Large quantities of detained tobacco found on cargo trains. On 6 November Jury Siańko became the Head of the State Customs Committee. Will he change the current situation with smuggling from Belarus to EU?

The decrease in individual border traffic and the growing share of Belarusians cigarettes in the EU shadow market are both reasons for concern. Financed by the EU and foreign tobacco producers, Belarusian State Customs Committee aims to reduce smuggling and increase revenue for the state.

More Confiscated Goods – Greater Revenue

A new appointment in the Belarusian bureaucratic system removed Aliaksandr Špilieŭski​ from the State Customs Committee with a young Jury Siańko. The new head of customs started a campaign for electronic registration at border crossings which is set to start on 1 December in Kazlovichy.


But who can use railway for contraband in a country with such a strong security service apparatus? And even if it is a state shadow business – why are the Customs Committee intercepting more and more smuggled goods? Siarhei​ Prudnichenka noted that cooperation between the State Customs Committee and Japan Tobacco International, which provides money for vehicles and monitoring equipment, pays for training seminars for frontier guards. EU and American foreign tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco finance the Customs Committee to reduce losses from smuggling.

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