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Work of Russian Post raises grounded claims

July 27, 2012, 17:49 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

The Russian Post Service works with more problems than that in Angola, Burundi and Honduras, a survey, which scientists from various countries conducted, showed. People have many claims against the work of the state-run company Russian Post Service. These claims are raised because, though the post service is becoming more profitable recently, the salaries of ordinary postmen are low, and their work is hard.

The essence of an experiment, which the Novye Izvestia daily reported about, consisted in making envelopes with the wrong addresses return to the letter senders.

From December 2010 to February 2011 employees of the Dartmouth College (the United States) sent ten letters to each of 159 countries (two letters to five largest cities of the country). The wrong addresses were written on the letters deliberately: the names of settlements and the postal codes were correct, but the names of the streets and companies of destination were wrong. Under the current international conventions, the letters, which did not reach their recipients, should be brought back to the sender – the Dartmouth College. The percentage of returned letters and the time of their return show the efficiency level of the post.

Russia shares ‘an honorable’ last place with Ruanda, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Panama and Cameroon in this rating, as no letter came back from the foresaid countries.

The Novye Izvestia daily also staged a similar experiment. On October 19, 2011, correspondents of the newspaper sent 38 letters to each other, five of which did not reach their recipients and the overwhelming majority of which were delivered with some delay. Moreover, the letters were delivered by the domestic postal service even longer than the letters sent abroad. The letters travelled 10-11 days on the average on the way to their recipients.

The second experiment consisted in the sending of parcels. On December 7, 17 parcels were sent, but seven of them had not found their addressees by last March, all other letters came with a major delay – in two weeks on the average. According to the postal standards the term of delivery makes 4-7 days, depending on the city.

Last February the Russian Post Service was fined 30,000 rubles for too slow delivery. The Moscow regional transport prosecutor’s office has found the first-class mail at the Vnukovo airport. This first-class mail has already been delayed for eight days by the moment of the inspection (though under the law, this type of mail is to be delivered within two days). The administrative responsibility case was opened against the Russian Post Service.

However, the complaints over the Russian Post Service concern not only a snail’s pace of the mail delivery. In April 2011 the public movement and the Society for the Protection of Consumers’ Rights instituted and presented a new national anti-prize – Anti-brand of the year. The main criterion for the selection of its laureates was the number and nature of complaints from people against major Russian national companies. The Russian Post Service won in the nomination “Communication Services” with a humiliating wording “for an unconquerable stealing and impudence of its employees.”

The scandals are sparking up over the Russian Post Service from time to time. The Kommersant daily has reported about the latest scandal recently. It turned out that the subcontractors of the state-run company sent the parcels not by air, but by sea and post delivery trucks, though charging air delivery rates, which are much higher. A source of the newspaper in the Interior Ministry believes that post officials could have been involved in the criminal schemes.

For instance, during the delivery of the air mail from Moscow to Khabarovsk under the contract with the PSV-Aero Company postal items were shipped by air only to Blagoveshchensk and Vladivostok, and from there to Khabarovsk by trucks. The mail eventually was brought 2-5 days later than the mail delivery standards prescribe and in some air routes - 30 days later!

Delta-Cargo, another subcontractor of the Russian Post Service, was to deliver the air mail under the contract from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Severo-Kurilsk at the air mail delivery rate of 35 rubles per kilogram. But the swindlers have easily got a tenfold share of illegal profits.

The main centre of long-haul mail delivery has exposed the facts of sending the air mail by the ground delivery services at the post distribution hubs in Barnaul, Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Ulan-Ude, Khabarovsk and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk regions. The preliminary estimates have found no less than ten million rubles of damages inflicted onto the Russian state.

Amid many claims to the Russian Post Service from ordinary people and even the prosecutor’s office the agency is becoming more and more profitable in the last few years. In 2011 the state-owned company has yielded 45% more of corporate revenues (700 million rubles); 483 million rubles more in 2010, and 306 million rubles more in 2009.

The Russian Post Service spends massive funds on advertising. The leading Russian market research company TNS Russia found that in 2011 the Russian Post Service was ranked eighth in the rating of the largest advertisers on the radio. Last April the Russian Post Service announced a tender among the advertisers “to cover the activities and shape the positive image,” setting the maximum cost of a contract at 25 million rubles.

Meanwhile, the salaries of ordinary post employees are small, but their work is heavy. The postmen and post operators receive about 10,000 rubles (300 dollars) on the average.

“I work at a post office, my official salary is 13,700 rubles, but in cash I receive 9,000-10,000 rubles (with all deductions). For this miserable sum I should provide at one desk such services as the giving out of pensions, taking payments on public utility bills, the receiving of telegrams and other operations. And such services as mail registering, money transferring and parcel receiving are rendered at another postal desk. The amount of work is too large. People do not come to work at the post offices, and only those, who had been working there for ages, keep working,” Anna from Moscow wrote in her blog.

Svetlana, a Muscovite, has made a harsher statement, “A full arbitrariness reigns in the post service. They have money for advertising, but not for salaries. The Post Service CEO think only about themselves. We are a free workforce for them. I wish they lived on the money we are paid!”

MOSCOW, July 27