May holidays are coming. It is evident that there will be regular stir along the demarcation line in the Donbas. We are going to tell you how to go through the so-called checkpoints of “DPR”.
“DPR customs”: Rules, restrictions, advice. Part 1
How it happens
The indicator of a customs point is a plate with “Zone of customs control” written on it, for example, there is one at the customs post “Oktyabr” if you go in the direction of the checkpoint Hnutove. Not all posts are equipped with the plates.
Photo from open sources
Posts are located in “caravans” or at former gas stations (as customs post “Horlivka” or “Doroha 2”). There are “customs officers” who download people’s names and information about vehicles in the computer database: one of them registers those who come, another one those who leave. They also check papers whether the people are “trustworthy” and whether they are blackballed.
Checking the luggage is obligatory. It may be a pro forma procedure, but more often it is a thorough one. Besides, under the “temporary provision on DPR customs system”, there may be “an interrogation of people and officials representing enterprises and their personal inspection”. As a rule, “personal inspection” is “an exceptional measure” and takes place when it is suspected that the a person hides something prohibited. Under “the temporal provision”, “the personal inspection is executed by a person of the same sex with the inspected one, and there must be two witnesses. It takes place in an isolated room which meets sanitary and hygienic requirements. It is prohibited for other people to be present there during the inspection. The person’s body organs are inspected by a health worker. The inspection results are recorded”. This is what the “document” says, but in real life people may face everything. On the other hand, personal inspection is not practiced very often, and rank-and-file people should not worry about that.
Due to the fact that the number of available computers is not big, “customs officers” are not experienced, the detailed inspection of the luggage takes time, there are queues, the control at “DPR” posts may take several hours (especially on weekdays and before holidays when the number of people who want to cross the demarcation line increases). Few people are “lucky” when they pass through the customs within half an hour without luggage inspection. However, such cases happen less and less often, with the customs “DPR” rules getting stricter. The busiest “DPR” posts are in Olenivka – “Doroha 1” and Horlivka.
There are also concessions for some categories of people at “DPR” posts as well as Ukrainian checkpoints): a preferential queue for vehicles transporting people with special needs, people who experience pain, pregnant women, and passengers with small children. There rules for such people are not fixed anywhere, but they are usually in a ‘fast” queue.
Besides “Customs” offices, some customs points are equipped with toilets for passengers (they are not everywhere), and garbage bins. There are no boilers with drinking water at “DPR” posts as there are at Ukrainian checkpoints; there are no currency exchange offices (though people with Ukrainian Hryvnyas go to the “rouble” zone). In winter there are “DPR ministry of extraordinary situations” tents which work as first aid posts. Such kiosks are absent at the moment.
There are no boards with the information about the work of customs posts (“customs” rules, prohibitions, and hotline telephone numbers). At the same time, there are broadsheets calling to pay attention to the movement of Ukrainian Armed Forces, the location of military constructions and to inform “DPR” authorities about the information obtained on coming back (there is such a broadsheet at customs post “Oktyabr” which is near Hnutove checkpoint).
The new “DPR act on customs” contains information about the creation of “duty free zones”, but “customs officers” say that they do not have any technical opportunities to arrange such “zones” at their checkpoints. However, at “Doroha 1” (settlement of Olenivka on the way to Mariupol), there is a “caravan” with a plate “Duty free” and the list of the goods available, mostly spirits and cigarettes).
So, if you have decided to go there, you should think about food, drinking water, and roubles (if you go to “DPR”) beforehand.
Rules of behaviour
The rules are not fixed anywhere, but the experience teaches:
- approach the post in order;
- if it is dark outside, switch off the outside lighting (main and dipped), leave the parking lights turned on;
- when stopped in the control zone, kill the engine; turn on emergency stop signals and the light inside the car;
- without getting out of the vehicle, give the inspector the documents for the vehicle, and passports of the driver and the passengers;
- when the inspector asks you, leave the vehicle and let it be checked; the driver and the passengers should not flounce; hands should be visible;
- if required, present the luggage for inspection;
- do not use mobile phone;
- do not take photos or shoot videos;
- do not use video registrar (it is better to remove it at all before the trip);
- turn off or maximally turn down music in the car;
- do not pass the post being drunk;
- respond calmly to inspectors’ demands.
New service "Explain Ukraine". This is a daily mailout of two articles which were written about the situation in the Donbas by Donbas journalists and translated into English. Honest vision of people who work in the field is unbiased and fresh which is crucial in the world which is full of desinformation and propaganda. We try to share this vision in out daily mailout. You can subscribe here.