The State Duma of Russia gave the first reading to the governmental variant of the bill about the circulation of agricultural lands. The bill was supported by 256 deputies (226 is the requisite minimum), 143 were against, and one abstained from the voting. Originally, there were seven variants of the bill, but only five of them managed to reach the voting. The deputies “chose the lesser of five evils,” i.e. the governmental variant of the bill won.
This variant provides local governments with the right to regulate the circulation of land in the regions. Local authorities will also make decisions on the question of how much land one person can own. The federal law will fix the limit of the total square of agricultural land that is going to be in the private property within the framework of an administrative district. Furthermore, pursuant to the governmental variant of the bill, foreign people will not be allowed to purchase agricultural land only on borderline territories. The list of those territories will be drawn up by the president of Russia.
The governmental variant of the law is good for a lot of people, but not for everyone. It is good for governors, they will be the key figure in the decision-making process, thinking, who will get more land and who will get less. It is good for Russian large land-owners (the directors of the so-called collective farms), they are interested in the cancellation of the practice to rent land shares. After the cancellation of such rent, an owner of a land share will have to either keep it or sell it, or hand it over to trust management.
As far as ordinary mortals are concerned, like you and me, then the new law is supposed to finally liquidate the legal vacuum regarding a land owner. The re-organization of collective farms, the privatization of land resulted in the fact that over 12 million Russian people obtained land shares in their property, but they could not handle the land, since there was no law for it.
Needless to mention that the fact that the State Duma gave the first reading to the bill on land was the victory of the government, centrist and right factions; it was the total defeat for left factions of the Russian parliament. There is nothing left for them, but to go into the background of the opposition, which is exactly what they are doing now: communists are again trying to initiate the issue of distrust to the government.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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