Russian “Free Land”: Media was Wrong

The Russian government has not offered free land to foreigners, as claimed by the Russia Today (RT) service, a spokesman for the Russian Duma (parliament) has confirmed to the New Observer.

The law, passed by the Russian Duma on May 2, specifically limits the offer to Russian citizens, and the media has incorrectly interpreted the law to mean “foreign citizens,” the Duma spokesman said in reply to an official query.


The bill, titled “On peculiarities of allocating land plots in the Far East Federal District,” provides for allocation of up to one hectare of land per person to Russian citizens in the Far Eastern region for long-term lease, with a possibility of acquiring property rights.

The reason for the misinterpretation of the law’s contents revolves around a section which states that the land is available to “Russian citizens or Russian compatriots applying for Russian citizenship.”

The spokesman said that by “Russian compatriots applying for Russian citizenship” is meant those Russian-origin persons who might wish to return to Russia, or who are in the process of taking up Russian citizenship once again.

“There is therefore no offer to foreign nationals to acquire land in Russia,” the spokesman said.

The full text of the law, in Russian, can be found on the Duma’s website here.

The Duma spokesman had no explanation why RT had misinterpreted the bill to mean foreigners, as, he said, it had never been a point of discussion in the text.

“The law as signed by the President explicitly excludes foreign nationals,” the spokesman said.

It was first entered into the Duma’s agenda on November 17, 2015, by the State Duma Committee on Land Relations and construction, in response to requests from authorities in the region.

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