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Fines for Dodging Russia's New Truck Tax Temporarily Abolished, May Be Slashed Ninefold

Drivers would only start being charged once the amendments come into force.

Russia's Transportation Ministry has temporarily abolished fines for truck owners who avoid paying the newly introduced levy for driving trucks weighing more than 12 tons on federal highways, following the troubled launch of the online collection system, Russian media reported Friday.

According to the RBC news portal, amendments to Russia's code of administrative offenses proposed by State Duma deputies and the ministry could see the fines lowered from 450,000 rubles ($7,000) to 50,000 rubles ($770), and from 1 million rubles ($15,400) to 100,000 rubles ($1,540) for repeat offenders.

Drivers would only start being charged once the amendments come into force.

The introduction of the new tax led to roadblock protests across the country on Nov. 11 and Nov. 19, with logistics companies complaining that it may lead to retail good shortages due to disrupted supplies as well as price hikes.

During the second protest, participants alleged that fines for non-compliance were levied outside the Moscow region, contrary to the government's earlier claim that fines would only be levied within the Moscow region, Meduza reported.

Russia's business ombudsman Boris Titov raised the matter with President Vladimir Putin, proposing that the online collection system be tested over a one-year period with the fee set to zero, the Kommersant newspaper reported Friday.

The system debuted on Sunday and soon ran into trouble, with hackers temporarily shutting it down on Monday morning and drivers' unions complaining about technical glitches, according to Russian media.

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