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Russia gives away one hectare of farmland and forest to its citizens 

By 0 and 0 and 0
27 July 2015


The bill gives an opportunity to every Russian citizen to obtain one hectare of land in the Far East for free use for the first five years and then acquire ownership of their land allotments at no cost if the plot has been used for activities not banned by Russian laws Picture: Natalia Korneva

The land handout is a radical scheme from the Russian government to reverse a potentially catastrophic population decline on the Pacific rim in the extreme east of the country. 

People will be able to register and receive plots on the web. The offer includes land that can be farmed, and forested territory, with the potential to sell timber, or simply set up home and a smallholding. 

Those wanting to becoming landowners in the Far East should use their plot for five years after which it can become theirs for free. Later, they could sell it. 

 About 30 million Russians - especially the young - are ready to go east and take up the offer, according to the VTSIOM public opinion research centre as a public discussion on the plan kicked off. Such a shift would be on a scale of historical proportions, transforming the region.

'Free land grants is a powerful potential for developing our Eastern territories and an opportunity to radically - almost six fold -  increase the far eastern population from 6.4 million to 36 million people,' said Alexander Galushka, minister responsible for development of these regions. 

Some 28% said they wanted to organise individual self-reliance households on their land; 19% said they would like to become farmers while 16% said that the land grants was an opportunity for them to change their place of residence, said the press service of the Ministry for Far Eastern Development.

Resettlement to Far East

Resettlement to Far East

Russian settlers on the Far East in the beginning of the 20th century. Picture: Okhota i Rybalka, RussianKoreanTV

The bill gives an opportunity to every Russian citizen to obtain one hectare of land in the Far East for free use for the first five years and then acquire ownership of their land allotments at no cost if the plot has been used for activities not banned by Russian laws, reported TASS. 

The land will be confiscated in case of non-use. Foreigners will have no right to get the free land. 

'If the requested plot of land is part of the designated forest land, this cannot be a cause for refusal to provide the plot of land in accordance with the provisions of this law,' states an official government document on the land handout. 

The exception are lands designated 'protected forests'. The scheme may appeal to patriotic Russians seeking to rebuild their own lives and improve their country at the same time. 

Yet there are sceptics who recall a giveaway of share vouchers during the privatisation of old Soviet industries in the 1990s. The shares quickly found their way into the hands of a few spectacularly rich tycoons. 

Some fear that oligarchs will do the same here, and then deftly switch the land into the hands of the Chinese who are keen to hold agricultural property long term, to supply their country's food needs. 

There are already murmurs of dissent about deals in several regions to put land into Chinese hands. 

As one sceptical blogger forecast gloomily: 'It is yet another fraud by our bureaucrats. These pieces of land will be given to unknown people and then the land will be sold (sorry, given for rent for 100 years) to Chinese people.'

Resettlement to Far East

Resettlement to Far East

The plots of land will be no closer than 20 kilometres to settlements with 300,000 or more residents; and no closer than 10 kilometres to towns with 50,000 to 300,000 residents. Pictures:, The Siberian Times

Another warned: 'It is just like that vouchers story in 1990s, at the end of which a couple of oligarchs will get hold of it and we'll see 2-3 more agricultural oligarchs, who will hire Chinese people to work there.'

Natural Russian pessimism? 

Time will tell, assuming the plan is approved, but potential incomers will need to be doggedly determined as were settlers to Siberia and the Far East during periods in the past. 

The plots of land will be no closer than 20 kilometres to settlements with 300,000 or more residents; and no closer than 10 kilometres to towns with 50,000 to 300,000 residents. 

Another blogger warned potential land grabbers to beware of 'high Far East prices, a different climate, thousands of mosquitos and other insects you have never seen before'.

If the law secures final approval in Moscow, the programme will start working on 1 January 2016 and run for 19 years.

Comments (48)

Oh, Hi
I wonder if you would be kind enough to write me back, How Can the people applying for this ? ,Seems It's an fascinating offer for wealthy and great humans settlements .
Numan, Dhaka,Bangladesh
18/05/2016 18:21
I'm interested, How can I apply? If the News is true please inform us full procedure or
Ibrahim, Dhaka, Bangladesh
17/05/2016 17:39
What is the process of applying for this project? Is there any website or something that I can look up?
Mahadi Hasan, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
17/05/2016 00:03
How to Apply ..............with full details please

Ronie, Bangladesh
16/05/2016 16:16
how can I apply.
mahmudul hasan, Bangladesh. comilla
16/05/2016 11:39
Can I apply? What is the procedure? I want to build a small farm.
Sudipto Mukherjee , Kolkkata India
16/05/2016 01:29
how can apply?
Jahed Sarwar, Bangladesh
15/05/2016 15:54
is the girl included?
Frankloin, USA
13/05/2016 00:58
Seems a very good idea to me , today I read that the offer is also open to non Russian citizens and that citizenship would be granted after 5 years , I read this in the British news rag called "Daily Express" which is not a very reliable source . I would be interested in moving to a plot in Siberia , if it is true . After 6 years under David Cameron and his government , I see no future in Britain . My own strengths and skills would serve better in a forest pioneer environment than the dead industrial wasteland which my own country has become , I want to know more
John Nelson, St Helens England
11/05/2016 23:32
how do you apply?
juan, Ecuador
11/05/2016 13:56
Climate is same as Canada so an acre farmed to Permaculture standards could easily yield enough food for a family of 6 (includes bartering). A hectare of alluvial land, which these regions are, is plenty to include forestation as well as aquafarming (plenty of fresh waterways in the region.) Yes, after 5 years, to keep or sell the acre a foreigner would have to take Russian citizenship - no issue with that.
LIlyana, Serbia
11/05/2016 11:22
Foreigners can obtain the land only if they become Russian citizens
Nik, Colorado, USA
03/05/2016 13:28
God bless Siberian Anastasia for inspiring this dream which is now coming to fruition. This is a huge leap for humanity and a hope for saving our beautiful planet.
Miranda, Canada
26/02/2016 09:45
God help the Amor Tiger if this Happen`s
davidoff, canada
21/02/2016 02:15
Only in North America could anyone imagine one hectare isn’t enough to live on! Taking an example from your own back yard, if the Dervaes family in suburban Pasadena, CA, can cultivate enough for 4 adults to live on and still have enough to sell to local restaurants on 1/10th of an acre, what do you imagine you can do with 25 times that amount?! The vast majority of the world’s farms are small or very small. Worldwide, farms of less than 1 hectare account for 72% of all farms, with farms between 1 and 2 hectares another 12%. This means that 70% of the world's food is grown on farms of which 84% are under 2 hectares. Over 70% of Russia's population already owns a small plot of land and cultivates it. They provide 92% of Russia’s harvest of potatoes, 77% of its vegetables, 87% of berries and fruits, 59.4% of meat, and 49.2% of milk. In 2004, gardeners’ output amounted to 51% (by value) of the total agricultural output of the Russian Federation. One hectare is enough.
Wendy, Portugal
20/02/2016 14:11

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