Mukachevo – a contraband capital of Ukraine



July 17, 2015


Translated by Kristina Rus

The scale of the contraband market in Mukachevo

You probably already heard that in Mukachevo there was a shootout with lethal results (three bodies)? It was an argument of pravoseki with the police and the local mafia. 

But in my post I want to talk not even about the unstable and volatile situation on the borders of Ukraine, but some insider info from distributors about Mukachevo. 

Delivery drivers (from Ukrainian suppliers) have said that Transcarpathia is a perfect “black hole”, sucking the merchandise. One driver said that a third of all the products of his factory is sold in Transcarpathia, the other said that almost half. Others – less, but still, a disproportionate amount compared to other regions. 

According to them  there are no typical distributors in Transcarpathia. There are private ‘entrepreneurs’ who don’t even have cars to deliver goods to retail outlets. They, in fact, don’t even deliver anything.

These ‘entrepreneurs’ just push the contraband abroad. Hungary and Romania are separated from Ukraine by narrow creeks. The river border is barely guarded, so tons of contraband daily is transported through the rivers.

The volume of products going through Transcarpathia is so big that suppliers even turn a blind eye to the fact that their goods are poorly represented on retail shelves or not represented at all in the region, since distribution in Transcarpathia is at a rudimentary level. 

Uzhgorod is located near Mukachevo, but if Uzhhorod is an official regional center of Transcarpathia, Mukachevo is its business [contraband, according to some] capital.

The volume of smuggling through Mukachevo is truly gigantic. It’s a real goldmine. There is no need for distribution, everything can go to contraband. 

This is why pravoseki are fighting with the local mafia. They fight over who will control the channels of contraband. A very profitable channel, the scale of which is comparable to the purchasing power of entire Ukraine.

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