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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Study Gives Low Marks to Customs Shake-Up

A shake-up of the Federal Customs Service has cast a sense of instability over operations and drained the agency of experienced customs officials, according to a study released Tuesday.

In addition, businesspeople see the overhaul, which President Vladimir Putin ordered in May, as little more than part of a pre-election power struggle, said the survey conducted by Salvador D, a public relations agency, and a customs broker, Zoll.ru.

The study, conducted in August and September, polled 30 respondents, including importers, exporters, customs officials and consultancies such as Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte and Touche, said Irina Khilko, deputy director of Salvador D.

On the bright side, the study found that the perception of all-out corruption at the customs is exaggerated, she said.

Customs chief Andrei Belyaninov acknowledged in remarks reported Tuesday that the agency had a long way to go, but said things were improving.

"Today a lot of young people are keen to work in customs. Customs is cool. It's worth landing a job there," he told the Tamozhnya industry magazine, Interfax reported.

Oleg Novikov, executive director of Yugovostochny Terminal, a Moscow-based bonded warehouse, praised the May reshuffle, which included the ouster of the former chief and other senior officials. He said recent changes had been made in line with European Union requirements.

As for the study's findings of a pre-election power struggle, he said, "In our country, every change is understood to be a redistribution of property."