State Duma set to review second version of expanded Far Eastern Hectare bill
© RIA Novosti. Aleksandr Kovalev

State Duma set to review second version of expanded Far Eastern Hectare bill

The State Duma Committee on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations has prepared the second version of a bill extending the Far Eastern Hectare program to the Russian Arctic. The lower house of Parliament will have a second reading of the bill on June 15.

The aim of the bill is to simplify the procedure for allotting plots of land in the Russian Arctic and other northern territories, in Siberia and the Russian Far East, to develop unused land and to motivate people to develop their plots of land, provided under a program similar to the Far Eastern Hectare.

Earlier, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin explained that these plots of land would be allotted in additional Arctic sectors. People will be able to obtain them more quickly under a simplified procedure. Special attention will be paid to preserving the traditions and culture of small indigenous ethnic groups of the North, Siberia and the Far East.

The bill allows people who have successfully developed these plots of land and who either own or lease them under the Far Eastern Hectare program, to obtain another plot of land of up to one hectare. These measures will make it possible to more actively develop unused land in the Far Eastern Federal District and in the Russian Arctic, Mishustin noted. Most importantly, these plots of land will motivate people into starting their own businesses and building homes for their families. They will be able to boost their incomes and have a more comfortable lifestyle.

The law is to enter into force ten days after its official publication, but this does not apply to the clause on allotting additional hectares, due to take effect from August 1, 2021.

Damir Khudin, a resident of the Republic of Tatarstan, will obtain the first plot of land in the Murmansk Region. He won it during a lottery at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

It is so far unclear how Khudin will make use of his plot of land. He will not be able to use it and formalize its ownership until February 2022 because for the first six months starting August 2021, only Murmansk Region residents are eligible to obtain plots of land under the program. After that, any Russian citizen will be able to join the program.

Over 70,000 hectares of land will be allotted in the Murmansk Region under the project, and their users will be able to engage in any kind of activity they choose. In the first 12 months, they need to decide on land-use options and three years later, they are to file declarations on how they use their plots of land. Five years on, people will be able to become owners or long-term renters of the land free of charge.