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What does alienate the Armenians from Armenia?10.08.2012 | 15:45
Crossing the border with Armenia through the customs checkpoints has become problematic for Armenian Diaspora of Javakheti, who travel and visit home by car. Many drivers are irritated by the fact that they are forced to conclude a treaty of compulsory car insurance (CCI) and then pay the so-called road tax for the use of highway in excess of $ 50 (this tax is not charged from the cars with Georgian license plates).
GTimes reporter talked to drivers, disgruntled by the fact that they are forced to buy compulsory car insurance (CCI) and pay road tax (as they say - a tax on the highway), at the Armenian-Georgian border, near the Bavrinskiy checkpoint. Vehicles wishing to cross the border have both Russian and Georgian license plates. All interlocutors were perplexed why an Armenian, regardless of his citizenship, willing to visit the home by car, has to buy the CCI and pay the tax "on the highway". "We are all Armenians, are not we? I want to visit my home and family, and relax. However, I get disappointed from the customs checkpoint", a citizen of Russia Gregory told GTimes reporter.
Gregory, who angrily argued about the fees for the CCI and "highway", also shared his impression about the service and quality of the customs service office. "Service and the amount of money needed to pay for the crossing of the border, do not correspond to each other. Instead of check points there are old Soviet-made carriages, where there are not even modern equipment. First offer, we hear before entering the country, can be formulated as follows - pay tax on the highway and buy the CCI. Agree, such approach is irritating. Why should I pay more than $ 50, to be allowed to travel to the homeland?"
He stressed, he "has never encountered such a problem" during entry into Georgia from Russia although "the countries are officially in state of war". "Moreover, at the Bavrinskiy customs checkpoint you can't use at least the majority of insurance companies of Armenia. At the checkpoint it's hard to find a working printer or scanner required for processing the documents. They make us insure the car, but do not provide the conditions for the choice. It's time to review these rules, because it just alienates the Armenians from Armenia", Gregory told GTimes.
Another GTimes interviewee, Michael, a native of Georgia, who had often traveled to Armenia by car. But because of the CCI and limited period of stay (15 days on the Armenian territory for one entry), now seldomly crosses the Armenian-Georgian border. "Now I travel to Armenia only in urgent need. It all started from the CCI and limit of 15 days. Maybe I came to Armenia and got sick, and I am in the hospital - and whom should I ask to take my car back to Georgia until the expiration of 15?" Michael considers the established order at least "an inadequate decision by an incompetent person". "It is estranging the Armenians from Armenia. Especially the Armenians of Georgia, who have often traveled to Armenia. I know many who earlier travelled home twice a month, but now they travel much more seldom", he said. According to Michael, it's unwise decision, because, among other things, it damages Armenian economy, since "we would have spent money there". "The new rules are illogical, because it's like sawing off the branch on which you sit", he concluded.
The CCI purchasing was recently approved at the legislative level. This provoked a strong reaction among drivers, since they had been carrying out customs clearance of cars in Georgia because of high rates in Armenian. "Instead of setting rigid rules it would have been more correct to significantly reduce the rates of customs clearance of cars in Armenia. This would radically change the situation since the country would import luxury cars and new cars. Now, after setting new rules, the government is struggling only the consequences, instead of to solving the problem", the experts summarize.