Medvedev Calls for Land Privatization

Russia should be prepared to privatize land, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.

The land issue has long been a source of heated debate in Russia. Some experts have called for of mass land privatization, but some government officials claim privatization is possible only after the cadastral value of land is recalculated, Medvedev said.

“Both positions are justified. I believe we need to prepare for privatization of land sites after all,” Medvedev said.

For many years, critics of land privatization have claimed it represents the ultimate wealth of many generations, which cannot be sold, the premier said.

“But what do we have as a result? We frequently see the degradation of the land stock and the absence of real possibilities for construction, including housing and social infrastructure. That is why, we need after all to make these decisions,” Medvedev said.

Russia established private land ownership when it adopted the 2001 Land Code, ending a decade-long debate in parliament over whether to allow private land sales. But the Code remained limited, applying to only about two per cent of mainly urban land and leaving Russia’s vast tracts of farmland untouched.

The Code placed a number of restrictions on foreigners, who were allowed to purchase land but could not receive it for free. Foreigners were not allowed to own land situated along Russia’s borders or in any of the “special territories” established by federal law.

The Russian president had the option of prohibiting foreigners from making preemptive buyouts or acquiring lease rights to land where certain types of buildings and facilities were located. Foreigners were also prohibited from owning agricultural land and were allowed only to lease it for 49 years.


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