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03 May 2012

Jaw-dropper of the day: Russian car taxation proposals

Today's Moscow Times carries a story about Prime Minister Putin's attempt to tax the rich by raising the duties payable on so-called luxury items. One such item is the huge, expensive and arguably unnecessary cars which are so popular amongst the nouveau riche in Russia because they make the back-seat owner feel like God, and allow his or (occasionally) her chauffeur to drive like the Devil.
     It is not an unreasonable proposal, and ought to have considerable public support. However, it seems that there is, as always, a catch which will let the rich get off scot free. The engine sizes at which the new duty will start have been made so large that they will apply only to railway locomotives. Not even the owners of tanks or self-propelled howitzers will be called upon to pay the new super-tax, since the engines of their vehicles will be under the new limit, which the Moscow Times tells us is 410 litres—see the paragraph below.
     Bear in mind that that a Citroen Deux Chevaux was so called because it had a 2 horsepower engine with a capacity of 0.6 litre. A modern car like a Ford Focus typically has a 2 or 2.5-litre engine. A Ferrari Enzo has a 6-litre engine. The largest Volvo truck engine is 13 litres.
     So it comes as no surprise that the government was able to announce a “soak the rich” policy while levying a tax that will allow any conceivably street-legal machine to evade the tax by making it kick in at 410 litres, which is nearly 70 (seventy) times the size of the engine in a Ferrari Enzo. That, I suppose, is krysha for you—or Moscow Times copy-editing.

Technical note: The standard BMW 750 Li has a 4.4 litre engine.


  1. Suppose, they meant 'horsepower' instead. But... I would test those correspondents' and editors' intellectual abilities

  2. Doublecheck your sources :) Original document says 410 horsepower

    1. I am sure it does. THAT is the whole point...