Immediately after the attempted annexation of the Crimea, the “Russian Post” announced the illegal delivery of international “EMS” (“Express Mail Service”) shipments to the territory of the occupied peninsula, starting a criminal “reform of the postal system” of Crimea “in accordance with the rules” of the aggressor state.
But the sanctions made certain adjustments and, in order to circumvent them, the “Russian Post” created its own illegal clone, the “Post of Crimea”, after which the “postal delay” for several weeks became the norm for Crimean residents .
Associate Professor Andrey Chvalyuk investigated how the illegal “Post of Crimea” functions now and what prospects it has.
The criminal “federal state unitary enterprise” “Post of Crimea”, which has direct close ties with the “Russian Post”, was illegally “created” by order No. 648-r of the Russian Government in 2014. For the first few months after its creation, this fake “post office” illegally used Ukrainian envelopes and stamps seized by the invaders in the post offices of “Ukrposhta” in Crimea, and when they ran out, illegal “franco” began to take place with stamps of the aggressor country.
The “Post of Crimea” hatched the idea of “issuing its own stamps”, but the announcements of their “issue” and the subsequent “ceremonial redemption” became only elements of propaganda; these fakes were not noticed to pay for “postal services”. It is noteworthy that a couple of years ago, researchers noticed that the “stamps” of this “Post of Crimea” directly say “Russian Post”.
The criminal “Post of Crimea” is also actively involved in the military propaganda of the aggressor. In October last year, she was the unlawful “co-organizer of the all-Russian action” “Letter to a Soldier” and allegedly “sent letters and drawings written by Crimean schoolchildren” to representatives of the Russian occupation military contingent.
Illegal “Crimean post offices” do not use the “all-Russian tariffs”. “Outgoing and incoming correspondence” unlawfully enters the “Russian Post” by physical loading on the “federal postal transport” at certain “sorting points”. For “receiving and delivering local correspondence” to neighboring Russia and beyond its borders, the “Post of Crimea” allegedly pays the “Russian Post” “in accordance with the concluded agreements”.
A similar illegal scheme is used by the illegal “private” “NPS Krym”, which “delivers parcels, letters and other correspondence at special points” to its main company, which managed to create its own infrastructure network during 2007-2019 both on the occupied peninsula and in Russia.
The mentioned “NPS Krym” is a “subsidiary” of the Novosibirsk company “National Postal Service”, operating under the license of the Russian Ministry of communications and considering itself the “second postal operator” in the territory controlled by the aggressor after the “Russian Post”.
“NPS Crimea” was criminally “registered” on the peninsula on December 26, 2019 as a “separate legal entity” in the name of Alexander Pashkov, who was declared to be the fake “general director of the enterprise”. And although on the website of the main “NPS” company in the search you can find “official addresses” and “contacts of post offices” in all regional centers of the occupied Crimea, as well as in the captured Sevastopol, the Crimean branch itself has been “in a state of liquidation” since November 22, 2022.
When in May 2021 “NPS Krym” illegally “burst’ into the “Crimean market of postal services”, the management of the “Post of Crimea” considered it as a serious competitor, but “something did not go according to plan” and “losses” of “NPS Krym” for 2021 allegedly “amounted to 3.1 million rubles”.
The criminal “registries” of the aggressor already contain the date when the “NPS Crimea” will cease to exist, which is November 15, 2023. It would seem that the criminal “leadership” of the “Post of Crimea” should rejoice, however, given some facts, even the “elimination of competitors” will not improve the position of the “postal service”, created by the occupiers.
Let’s try to figure out what the criminal profit of the “Post of Crimea” is formed from. This fake structure has “contractual obligations” to the aggressor’s pension fund in relation to the illegal “delivery of federal pensions to recipients” in the occupied peninsula and receives payment for “services rendered”.
Also, the “Post of Crimea” has established illegal “cooperation” with the criminal “Russian National Commercial Bank” and “accepts payments from the local population for utilities and communication services”, transferring money to illegal “accounts” of Crimean fake “local utilities”.
Such an illegal scheme allows all “intermediary organizations” involved in it to earn money, and “covering the cost of increased tariffs” is naturally transferred to the shoulders of the Crimean population. However, the “post of Crimea” is not allowed to fatten much.
Until 2016, the “Post of Crimea” “transferred 25 % to the federal budget” of its “net profit”. But then the so-called commission for “analysis of the effectiveness of the activities of federal state unitary enterprises subordinate to the Ministry of telecom and mass communications of Russia” “decided to increase this percentage to 50%”.
Although these amounts are not large, compared with the amounts of the “federal programs” already “mastered”, that is, stolen in the Crimea, the very fact of the “change in the vectors” of financial flows even then became a certain indicator that the occupiers are not interested in further “development of the postal services sector” in the occupied territories and consider the illegal “post”, first of all, as a “convenient” financial pad.
Having agreed on the “pumping of income”, the Kremlin once again confirmed the fakeness of its alleged “concern for the needs of the population” of the captured peninsula.
Naturally, the fake “Post of Crimea” is not and cannot be a member of the Universal Postal Union, but even being under sanctions, the “Post of Crimea” continues to advertise supposedly “correspondence delivery” almost all over the world, including the countries of the European Union, Canada and the USA.
However, since 2015, US Post has refused to deliver parcels to the occupied Crimea. The countries of the European Union do not recognize the “Post of Crimea” either, and attempts to deliver a shipment to the occupied Crimea can only be “successful” through a series of frauds.
Such logistics is also influenced by the position of international courier delivery services. At the end of February 2022, “UPS” announced the suspension of imports and exports for aggressor and Belarus.
The American delivery service “FedEx”, along with “TNT Express”, which is part of the company, have also joined “UPS”. The companies at their own expense returned to the senders all the parcels that were on the way at the time of the announcement. Since March 2022, the international express delivery company for goods and documents “DHL” has stopped delivering parcels for aggressor, but indicated that “exports remained available for shipments”.
The sanctions contributed to the restriction of international shipments and activities for courier services controlled by the aggressor. Some warehouses of logistics companies located on the territory of other states have stopped their work. However, according to Russian “business portals”, in recent months, some destinations “have been reopened due to the emergence of alternative routes”.
The use of these “alternatives” slows down the delivery time of items by 1.5-2 times and increases its cost from 25 % to a record 200 %. The aggressor-controlled “media” “proudly” report that “in order to bypass the imposed sanctions restrictions, algorithms for buying goods from America and Europe are being formed using the services of intermediaries” of the so-called buyers. However, at least 107 countries refuse to accept mail from the aggressor-controlled territory.
It should be added that in 2022, after the occupation of Berdyansk, Melitopol and Kherson began, the Russian invaders announced the creation of illegal “separate postal operators” there, such as the fake “Tavria Post”.
This experience was once “tested” by the aggressor on the occupied peninsula, specifically with regard to the aforementioned “Post of Crimea”, as well as in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk.
There, criminal “independent postal operators” were also declared the aggressor, even with their “own” insignificant “postage stamps”. Moreover, all interaction with the two “operators” “Russian Post” built “hybridly”, through a certain “PO box” of the border city of the Rostov region of Russia.
However, in fact, the occupiers could not create a systemic illegal postal message in the occupied southern mainland regions of Ukraine since the spring of 2022 for a long time.
After the liberation of Kherson by the Ukrainian Army, the aggressor generally maintained “modest silence” on the “postal issue” for several months, but only at the beginning of 2023 announced another criminal scheme in which he “combined” the “Crimean and Donetsk variants” .
As the criminal “Post of Crimea” stated at the beginning of 2023, it will now “criminally serve” the occupied territories and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions. Moreover, all illegal “departures” from there and there will be “issued” through “PO boxes” created for this purpose in the fake “Simferopol post office”.
However, since March 1, the aggressor has abandoned the “PO box games” in the occupied part of the Donetsk region and stated that now the “Donbas Post” will receive correspondence from Russia “directly”, putting this criminal structure on a par with the “Post of Crimea”, which has been criminally working with the “Russian Post” since 2014 without playing fake “PO boxes” . But these criminal games continue through the fake “Post of Kherson ” and “Tavria Post”, which are sent to the occupied Crimea from the occupied Melitopol and Henichesk “postal items” allegedly “twice a week”.
However, on June 23, 2022, the membership of the “Russian Post” and the Belarusian state “Belpochta” in the association of European postal operators PostEurope was terminated. As of July 2023, “Russian Post” and “Belpochta” are still on the list of members, but there is a note that their membership rights have been suspended until further notice .
The press center of the “Russian Post” in response hastened to report that supposedly “PostEurope is not able to influence the postal message between the countries and the suspension of membership will not affect the organization’s clients in Russia.” However, already in July 2022, “Russian Post” knocked out the “status of an IT company” from the aggressor’s ministry of digital affairs , starting “the transformation of a postal operator into a digital logistics company.” We believe that in this way, preventive preparations are being made for the next circumvention of sanctions.
And there is a basis for this, because “Ukrposhta” has already sent a petition to the Universal Postal Union regarding the exclusion of Russia from this organization. When this request is granted, the postal communication of the aggressor country will experience even greater restrictions.
“Internal optimization processes” or, better to say, the transition to a total economy mode also have a devastating effect on the “postal sphere” of the aggressor, creating an echo in the temporarily occupied territories. Now the tax service of Russia sends “tax messages” or “recommended letters by mail” or “in electronic form through the personal account of the taxpayer”.
The ratio of “tax notices” sent by mail to those posted through the “cabinet” is constantly changing not in favor of “postmen”: in 2019, “76.1% of messages were sent by mail”, and in 2021 – only 66.4 %. From the beginning of 2024, persons controlled by the aggressor will receive these “notices and other documents” through the “personal account on the portal” of “Hosuslugi” without “sending by mail” to “save” 3.6 billion rubles.
It is obvious that the “Post of Crimea”, which has an illegal “contract with the federal tax service” for the corresponding criminal “delivery of tax notices,” is also experiencing a decline in such illegal income.
However, illegal “postmen” are looking for new sources of criminal profits, and for this they once again turned their attention to the occupied mainland.
After all, it is these illegal “posts” that become the key instrument of financial occupation. The government of the aggressor has recently established that the “Russian Post” is a “monopolist in the transfer of social payments in cash”, and this approach, obviously, has been criminally applied by its gaskets in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
In this case, it is typical that the “Russian Post” is preparing a bill that will oblige the aggressor’s large marketplaces to pay 0.5% of quarterly circulation to support the network of post offices.
In anticipation of such a big jackpot, the “postman” of the aggressor staged an “attraction of unprecedented generosity” for his military, stating that packages for Russian invaders to the occupied territories of Ukraine from May 1, 2023 are “delivered free of charge”.
It should be noted that the participation of the “postal services” of the aggressor in the financial occupation was described in the Association’s report prepared by Professor Boris Babin, sent to the UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights .
It is also worth pointing out the machinations of the “Post of Crimea” with real estate, which became known due to fake “trials” in the occupied Sevastopol.
There, the property of “Ukrposhta” was initially seized by the occupiers in 2014 for the fake “communal enterprise” “Sevastopol Post” and later “transferred” to the illegal “Post of Crimea”, while in 2017 it was illegally “transferred to federal ownership” .
But during these upheavals, some real estate of “Ukrposhta” in a seaside place obviously “fell off the lists” and now the fake “city administration” initiates “debt claims” against “Ukrposhta” with the obvious goal of “collecting real estate” within the framework of fake “debts” “one and a half thousand rubles a year”.
But if in Sevastopol looting is framed through fake “courts”, then on the occupied mainland the aggressor does not “burden” himself with this. By the way, both the fake “Tavria Post” and “Post of Kherson” are declared there by the invaders not as “federal”, but as “state unitary enterprises”.
As “RIA Melitopol” reported in July 2017, in the occupied Akimovka, Zaporizhzhya region, at the criminal “Tavria Post”, Russian soldiers sent stolen equipment to the occupied Crimea , that is, using the illegal “services” of the “Post of Crimea”.
Thus, the collaborator Olena Prin, who since 2014 has been “heading” the “Post of Crimea” and her criminal “subordinates”, are not just accomplices of the invaders, but also accomplices in the commission of war crimes, as well as in the financing of Russian state terrorism.
Naturally, the same qualification covers the activities of the fake “head” of the “Tavria Post” Inna Gorlacheva, the former head of the main cash desk of the “Ukrposhta” directorate in Melitopol, and her current criminal “subordinates”. The same applies to the former director of the Kherson directorate of “Ukrposhta” Viktor Firman and his henchmen from the criminal “Post of Kherson”, which the aggressor “evacuated” to Skadovsk.
Now, from the shelves of the “Post of Crimea” “offices”, the front pages of the aggressor’s “federal newspapers” are staring at visitors with orders from the communist era. But what will be traded in these premises in the future depends on the world community and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.