Each Russian entitled to an ‘Arctic hectare' under Far East Ministry program
© RIA Novosti. Aleksandr Kovalev

Each Russian entitled to an ‘Arctic hectare' under Far East Ministry program

All Russians will be entitled to use a plot of land ​of ​up to one hectare in the country's Arctic zone free of charge. In the first six months of the program starting in 2021, it will be available only to local residents.

After this period, residents of other regions in Russia will also have the opportunity. "I would say it is only fair to give priority to those who have been living in the Arctic for a long time," Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Alexander Krutikov said.

He also noted that at this stage, the program will only involve the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Regions, the Nenets and Yamal-Nenets autonomous areas, North Karelia, and a dozen individual municipalities in other northern regions, not the entire Arctic zone. According to Krutikov, there will be enough land for everyone.

"There is so much of it (unused land) both in the Far East and in the Arctic that every resident of our country can easily have a hectare. Almost all regions of the Russian Federation supported the idea. And most importantly, we had support from regions where there will be high demand for land," the Deputy Minister noted.

The regions will be allocating land close to cities for free distribution under the Arctic Hectare program, to facilitate the new users' access to infrastructure such as roads, electricity and sewage.

According to Krutikov, the final decision will be up to the regions, but there are no buffer zones, as in the Far Eastern Hectare Program (no closer than 10 km from cities with a population of more than 50,000, or 20 km from cities with a population of more than 300,000). Beyond 10-30 km from towns there is no easy access via transport in the Arctic.

The new holders can use their plots for housing construction or for doing business free of charge for five years. After the program-designated period expires, they will be able to apply for ownership or conclude a lease agreement to continue using the plot.