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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Federal Land Register 'Vital' for Prosperity

A national, government-guaranteed land register is one of the keys to prosperity, experts told an international symposium on land registers last week.

Although many people think of creating a land register as a technical problem, its main role is economic; such registers allow owners to realize the value of land through sales, mortgages or security for loans, the experts said at the gathering, organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which is affiliated with the German Christian Democrat party.

"The future development of the economy is impossible unless you develop the appropriate infrastructure," said Sergei Sai, head of the Federal Land Cadastre Service, which is compiling a public record of the value, area and ownership of land.

"This issue [of a land register] is vital for Russia because we have a large land resource," Sai told State Duma deputies and members of the Federation Council at the event.

Sai's deputy, Viktor Kislov, said practically every family has become the owner of apartments or land. He added that in the last 10 years, more than 200 million individuals, or about 70 million families, have acquired property.

Kislov said nations with the strongest economies have all created a legal framework for registering land.

"If it is registered in the system of the state land cadastre, then it is a guarantee of the ownership of a property," he said. "Every transaction must be absolutely transparent."

French, British, German and Council of Europe experts agreed.

Stephen Wilson, managing director of DTZ Zadelhoff Tie Leung's Moscow office and a chartered surveyor, said after the symposium that a cadastre is vital to the country's economic health. "If the land register is not kept, or worse still, is kept and is subject to corruption, then the whole system of land transactions can grind to a halt. No reliable land register -- no economic recovery," he said.

Horst Borgmann, a professor at Berlin's Technical University, said that regulation of the land market should not favor any individual market players, and that there must be mechanisms for changing ownership and enforcing state requirements.

Franz Schuster, the minister for economy, labor and infrastructure in Thuringia, Germany, warned of the consequences of not setting up a land register, saying the consequences of unclear priorities are capital flight and foreign capital staying away.

Kislov said Russian surveyors have inspected land registry systems in Europe, the United States and Australia and no system seemed suited specifically for Russia's needs.

"We can learn from them how not to do it -- because they have already burnt their hands," he said. "We also have an opportunity in that in some senses, we are starting from zero, and we can really make a very good system."

Kislov said the Federal Land Cadastre Service, or Roszemkadastr, is well suited to operate the register, because it has no property interests that could divert it from its main task. Other state bodies interested in maintaining their own registers of land or buildings include the State Construction Committee, the Justice Ministry and the Property Ministry.