Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Government Prepares To Restrict Land Sales

Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin on Tuesday ordered the government to draft a law that would outlaw land sales to foreigners, a news report said.

Governors of border regions told Stepashin at a meeting they were afraid that Chinese and North Korean citizens could buy up land in Russia's Far East if land sales to foreigners are not banned, Itar-Tass said.

Stepashin said the Justice and Nationalities ministries should prepare the legislation before the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, convenes this fall.

Private ownership of land is still rare in Russia because of Soviet-era restrictions that have not been lifted. President Boris Yeltsin and the Communist-dominated Duma have been wrangling over a new land bill that would allow some privatization and sales, including to foreigners.

Communists and others in the lower house who oppose privatizing land have often based their arguments on the fear that foreigners will buy up Russian land. They also say that prime farmland will be bought up by rich Russians and taken out of agricultural use.

In the absence of a new law, Yeltsin has been regulating minor land ownership issues by decree, and several regions have adopted their own land laws.