Liberals in the government have lost the dispute about the bill pertaining to the turnover of agricultural land. To be more precise, the dispute was about one of the points of the bill about selling the land to foreign citizens. The discussion on this subject has been going on for a long time already. As Tatarstan’s President Mintimet Shaimiyev said ironically, “we have been selling land for three years, and no foreigner ever bought anything.” The representatives of the Tambov region were really persistent about cutting foreigners’ rights in this respect. The governmental bill seriously restricts the rights of foreign citizens when it comes to purchasing agricultural lands: they are not allowed to own land “on the base of the right of property.” However, governors think that foreigners will find a way to get around the restrictions and purchase land, so the heads of the regions want to introduce various specifications in the bill.
Their fears are not hard to understand. The head of the Khabarovsk region Viktor Ishayev is correct to a certain extent when he says that Chinese nationals will gradually oust the Russian-speaking population from the region (there are a lot Chinese living there), in case there are several unclear points in the bill. That is why the governors want to specify the list of the so-called frontier lands, and if someone wants to buy them, then these people are supposed to undergo a test on citizenship.
The government does not have any objections about the status of the frontier lands, but it believes that they can be determined with the help of the presidential decree. However, the governors want the list of such lands to be written in the law. This will considerably delay the time when it is possible to pass such a law; they will be given the time to settle their land problems, which failed to be solved over the recent six months.
Vladimir Putin stated while opening the session of the Council of State devoted to the issue: “I realize the concern of those people who think that it is possible for Russia to legally ban the purchase of land by foreign citizens.” The head of the state mentioned that such an order existed in many other countries, and declared that “until we regulate the market, until we understand what is going on in this field, we should not hurry with selling the land to foreigners.”
At the same time, Putin reminded that one of the variants was an offer to regulate the sale of land to foreigners within the frontier areas and several other territories by means of president’s special orders. The last sentence from the president gives a small chance to reformers to legalize the sale of land without any restrictions. This is especially important for foreign investors that do not hurry to invest money in the Russian economy.
However, this is about foreign citizens. As far as the Russian nationals are concerned, Putin promised that the law about the turnover of agricultural land is supposed to mention “the responsibility for untargeted use of the land.” Moreover, the document is to fix “the right of priority of the state for acquiring the land.” As Vladimir Putin said, this was the so-called anti-corruption stipulation. This way, Putin takes the wind out of the sails of left factions, which will most probably use that opportunity to condemn the “anti-people” regime, which is “selling out” the national wealth. Let foreigners rest without our land, and if they do not want to waste their time, let them read a book on Russian history, from which they will probably get the answer to this question.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov