Deputies of the New People faction suggested that the government resume work on the idea of selling so-called “beautiful” numbers to citizens – state license plates with a memorable combination of numbers and letters. The concept of such auctions was discussed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Economy in 2019-2020, but it was abandoned due to the comments of the Ministry of Finance. Parliamentarians believe that the idea needs to be returned: the state will not interfere with additional “billions” in the face of a growing budget deficit. Experts talk about the complexities of the mechanism proposed by the authorities, but admit that car owners have an interest in “beautiful” numbers.
Back in January 2020, the Ministry of Economy, together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, developed a draft government decree with the rules for “reserving” license plates “with individual alphanumeric designations” for car owners. The document was prepared on the instructions of Vladimir Putin, which he gave even in the rank of prime minister in 2010. It was planned to allow citizens to redeem numbers with an attractive combination of letters and numbers through the public services portal: specific combinations and increased fees were enshrined in the Tax Code.
In particular, such prices were offered. 600 thousand rubles for a number with a combination of one letter and a number (for example, A111AA or O77700), 450 thousand rubles – for a number with numbers from 100 to 900 and the same letters (for example, B900BB), etc.
Regional authorities could count on 50% of the proceeds from the sale. Subjects were also given the right to apply a multiplier to the base rates, increasing the fee, for example, tenfold.
The draft passed a public discussion on regulation.gov.ru in July 2020, then was sent to the government, since then there has been no news. “New People” in April 2023 appealed to the White House about this. “It is impossible to legally get a “beautiful” number, people use traffic police connections and pay for this unofficial service,” deputy Anton Tkachev explained. “To make this shadow market a thing of the past, we propose to distribute “beautiful” numbers through auctions.” The Ministry of Economy, on behalf of the government, replied to Mr. Tkachev: the development of the project was suspended, the project was not supported by the Ministry of Finance and was returned from the White House apparatus.
The Ministry of Economy, responding to a request from Kommersant, confirmed that work on the project was not being carried out, but did not give reasons. On Friday, the Ministry of Finance told Kommersant that the department supported the idea conceptually, but sent “recommendations for finalizing the document” to the Ministry of Economy, also without specifying what it was about.
On Friday, Mr. Tkachev sent another letter to the Cabinet of Ministers (“Kommersant” got acquainted with the text). It is necessary to resume work on the project and launch auctions before the end of 2024, the parliamentarian insists: “In the context of the growing deficit of the consolidated budget of the Russian Federation (according to the Ministry of Finance, for five months possible mechanisms to increase the revenues of the budget system without increasing the tax burden on citizens.
The MP is confident that numbered auctions will allow the state to collect additional “billions”.
In Russia, there are firms offering services for the purchase of license plates through auctions. The buyer officially purchases a car with the desired number (as a rule, the donor is a Zhiguli or an old foreign car), registers it with the traffic police, removes the number and reserves it for himself. After that, he sells the car for a symbolic amount back to the seller of the numbers. For example, on the site https://autonomera777/net/, the number K999UA99 is currently up for auction for 1.15 million rubles. and Н999НН22 for 1 million rubles. In 2022, the number B888BB88 was put up for auction for 50 million rubles. and X333XX31 for 35 million rubles.
The sale of the GRZ at an auction should have been organized 20 years ago, says Petr Shlyakhin, deputy chairman of the classic car committee of the Russian Automobile Federation, license plate collector: “It is not clear why this project has not reached implementation in conditions when any penny is useful to the budget.” The proposed mechanism, he suggests, was quite complex and opaque. “We need to make everything simpler: a series is produced that is of interest to people, auctions are opened, a starting price is announced and it is traded for a month,” the expert suggests.
Piotr Shkumatov, coordinator of the “Blue Buckets” movement, proposes to do without tenders altogether. “We need to give people the opportunity to choose letters and numbers from the available numbers for an increased fee,” he believes. “You pay 5,000 rubles. and choose what you like. You pay 800 rubles – you get a number in random order. Only simple solutions work in this area.”