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Official website of the President of Russia

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Opening Remarks at a Meeting of the State Council Presidium

January 30, 2001, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin: Good morning,

You are all familiar with the agenda. I suggest that today we discuss the problem that has long existed in Russia, an eternal Russian problem, the problem of land.

I need hardly say how important it is for our country in political and economic terms, and what an important asset it is. This is not just about private garden plots owned by private individuals, and not only about agricultural land, it is also about land on which industrial facilities stand.

I think that any regional chief executive, regardless of the land regulations in the region, is very well aware that lack of proper regulation in that sphere is a significant disincentive to investments. This is an obvious fact because who would invest money in a facility which stands on land that belongs to nobody, even if some regions can make arrangements with the owner, still there is a lingering uncertainty among investors because they are not sure how this issue is treated at the federal level.

Obviously, the lack of proper regulation in that sphere reduces investment activities, but unfortunately, it also promotes corruption and arbitrary behaviour of officials. That is an undeniable fact.

Land, like any resource, needs to be accounted for and controlled, as we know very well. The country as a whole, I mean the Russian Federation as a whole, does not have a single land cadastre. And unfortunately, there are no modern information systems for zoning and standardisation of land, and there are no uniform and clear rules for evaluating land and determining the amount of rent. In fact we have yet to start making an inventory of land in the country as a whole.

I am sure that no serious decisions on land can be taken without first taking final decisions in that sphere. It is a national task and it has to be addressed as soon as possible.

Today we do not have a solid legal basis for land ownership. The fact that land is becoming an object of purchase and sale is undeniable, and to ignore it would be counterproductive. We should make up our minds on the priorities in this area.

The country needs coherent land legislation. Most importantly, it should be totally in line with the changes that have taken place in the Russian society and state. We have been postponing major decisions in this sphere far too long, and time has run out. This is not only something that politicians and experts understand. Our slowness is creating problems for people in their daily lives.

I think you know that the State Duma is already working to bring into effect the chapter of the Civil Code that regulates land use. And next on the agenda is actual work on amendments to the Land Code.

My personal opinion is that we should be mindful of the specific character of the Russian Federation, and its vast territory that spans many climatic zones. We know that back in 1861 when the Agrarian Reform was carried out this circumstance was taken into account and lands in various regions had different status, but the basic approach to the main problems in this sphere was uniform. I think this is a very reasonable approach for our country, but it has to be discussed by the regional leaders and by regional legislators. Without any doubt, the issue will be further discussed at the State Duma. And I would like this meeting of the State Council Presidium to initiate a series of discussions of the issue at a high professional level, at a high political and expert level.

That is why I have invited Minister German Gref to this meeting, who is in charge of preparing amendments to the Land Code.

Our work will proceed in the following way. Today, I repeat, we open the discussion at the meeting of the State Council Presidium. After this meeting and a discussion on the issue, the Government will finalise its proposals, which will then be the subject of hearings at the State Duma. Thereafter the Government will review the matter at its meeting before we take it up again at the State Council. After the discussion at the State Council we will introduce the amended Land Code at the country’s parliament. This is the schedule of work on this key issue for Russia.

January 30, 2001, The Kremlin, Moscow