The Samovar

1926 customs duties on parcels in the USSR

nik - 11/26/2016 at 22:14

The #26, June 1926, issue of a Russian émigré publication in Paris, Illustrated Russia, featured the story, "Foreign Parcels," which shows photos taken at the USSR's "main Petersburg post office." Clockwise, from top left, the captions read: "mailing abroad..."; "writing..."; "receiving parcels..."; "post-restant..." A paragraph at the bottom of the page provided an explanation:
"Financial brilliance and a concern for their citizenry has inspired Soviet rulers to institute a new measure: levying draconian customs duties on foreign parcels. Torn from their friends and relatives , Russian refugees have on occasion been able to save some crumbs from their meager starvation budgets in order to send a package to their loved ones. Generally those packages consist of clothing such as shoes, trousers, suit coats, and sweaters, often in used condition. Now customs duties that frequently exceed store prices on such goods are being levied against these parcels. As a result, citizens of "the luckiest nation in the world" are forced to decline receipt of their long-awaited packages. Our photos depict some of the moments associated with mailing and receiving foreign mail."


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