"Real Estate and Investments. Legal Regulation", the journal

Issue 1 (2), 2000

Problems of Land Reforms in Russia at the Turn of the XXI century

Lojko P.F., secretary of state, vice-chairman of the State Land Committee of Russia, doctor of economic sciences, professor, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, academic of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences

The centuries-old practice testifies that the main sources of viability and prosperity of any state are its land resources and the population, living on its territory. Thus the term "land resources" means not only territory of the state, but also everything, that can be found "above" or "under" this land, including agroclimatical conditions and their biopotential. An infrastructure and effectiveness of the land resources usage, professional training and cultural level of the population define wealth of the state.

The above-mentioned predetermines the necessity of the ownership of land resources by all members of society. At the same time each land lot should have a particular owner. These two concepts are compatible not only through the form of proprietorship, but also through the lease of land. Strategically, the problem of land conversions in Russia should be solved not in the sphere of land proprietorship, but in the sphere of the rights on the ways and results of the land resources usage as the unit of managing. The modern land policy should be based on this important principle.

What is the value of Russian land and resources, including all that is "above" and "under"? It makes 1709 million hectares of land (12,5 % of world territory) and 420 million hectares of continental shelf. 55 % of world black soil, 50 % of fresh water reserves and 60 % of coniferous breeds timber reserves is centred on the territory of Russia, that is valued in the sum in 30 trillions US dollars. The explored reserves of sources of energy, which can be found in the Russian ground, constitute about 30 % of world reserves and are valued, under the present world prices, which have the tendency of constant rising, in 35 trillions US dollars. The territorial capacity of Russia on a bioclimatical potential for a standard living is 1,0-1,3 billion people. The territory of Russia is special because of a unique infrastructure created by many generations of people. In the whole world only Russia possesses large areas of land never exposed to natural cataclysms (like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, droughts etc.).

This uniqueness of the Russian lands has been attracting its next-door and distant neighbours throughout the history, that is why during many centuries and especially at the end of XX century huge efforts from the outside are undertaken to weaken Russia and to divide its territory. Today it is done peacefully, and tomorrow military ways may be chosen under the pretext of somebody's property or rights protection. The history shows that practically all numerous wars had for the purpose conquering and acquisition of lands and resources, instead of units of the real estate, which are usually destroyed in the course of battle operations.

Comparing the tendencies of the land use development in Russia and abroad, we observe, as it may seem, opposite tendencies. On the Earth the space, suitable for life, becomes more and more overpopulated, air and water become scarce, many countries win from the sea the ground for building, the overuse of fertile land grows. In Russia many territories are not used, population of the country is swiftly decreasing, the quality of housing conditions, public health services, domestic services, social insurance and incomes is becoming worse. In the following 25 years it is impossible to expect natural growth of the population in Russia.

With the conservation of the demographic and economic development tendencies, formed during the years of reforms, Russia will very soon face serious problems with holding its territory. A reality is that along an important part of Russian State boundaries it is neighbouring with the countries with quickly growing population, therefore the Russian lands can naturally become an objective of migration of their population.

It is possible to resist to such processes only by improving the economic situation in Russia in general and on its eastern lands in particular. The protection and holding of Russian lands should become principal national idea of the XXI century for the peoples living on this huge territory.

For the last 10 years of the XX century, according to the Constitution of Russian Federation on the territory of Russia the new land system fundamentals were practically created: the state monopoly on land was liquidated, the transition to variety of the forms of land proprietorships was effected; the free-of-charge redistribution of land for the benefit of the citizens was conducted; the land usage requiring payment was introduced; the main part of agricultural lands was transferred to a private property; the timber lands, lands of nature protection and other most valuable lands are owned by the state; the important part of operations with the land cadastre are carried out; the objective conditions for the land turn are created.

However the first stage of reforms has not solved the problems, it was expected to solve, as because of the lack of a suitable legislative base the processes of land reforming were progressing rather slowly in this phase, politics became involved in agrarian problems, and the transfer of land to efficient users was practically blocked. During a short period of time economic connections in the agrarian sector of Russia were destroyed, an ineffective redistribution of the property was effected, price disparity increased in the situation of total investment deficit and excessive food import, social infrastructure was destroyed, naturalisation of the economic relations became dominating, the State does not provide a reliable and efficient support of production, a continuous falling of soil fertility is alerting. Never before did Russian land experienced such no-proprietary attitude.

The study of qualitative state of soils in Russia shows that the rates of their degradation progress. For the last 25 years the area of acidic soils has risen by 32,1 million hectares, including arable lands - by 21,5, the area of soils subject to water erosion - by 28,4, salted soils - by 12,0, soils, containing salt complexes - by 13,9, swamped and overmoistened soils - on 20,0, soils with bushes and low forest growing on them- by 10,5 million hectares. The content of humus in the soils of Russia has decreased at the average by 20 %. Measures on raising the soil fertility which are being taken, are of episodical nature, therefore an increase of valuable highly productive agricultural lands has practically stopped in the 90s.

Low fertility of soils and the lack of land-reclamation measures, the huge territories and intensity of the soil degradation stipulate the annual shortage of 37-45 million tons of agricultural production counting in grain. Principal reason for this situation is the continuing no-proprietary attitude to land, sharp last years cutting of the chemicalization investments, melioration and anti-erosive measures, low material and technical equipment status, the destroying of state land services responsible for the soil fertility raising.

Conservation of the present tendencies of a progressive soil degradation, when soil, being the natural automatically adjusting system of a biosphere does not cope any more with nowadays technogenic pressure, lead to a rupture of the natural ecological environment connections, and consequently, to inevitable death of the society. In a history of world civilisations such phenomenon occurred repeatedly.

The agricultural production rise in Russia was possible during a long-term period of time primarily because of the arable lands area extension. This purely administrative measure has resulted in rational land use deformation. For example, today more than 8,0 million hectares of the arable land is located on soils not suited for ploughing, there was a common shift of agriculture in steppe and dry steppe regions with simultaneous loss in a Non-black earth zone of 5,5 million hectares of arable land. It has caused, in turn, some disproportions in agricultural land use structure, manifested as the large specific gravity of the ploughed land in forest-steppe and steppe regions, ecologically and economically ungrounded land structure in a series of the republic regions. The inclusion in the list of arable lands of the lands which are over-humidified, salt, especially of the lands on slopes (54,3 million hectares) with the expressed negative characteristics has sharply reduced the effectiveness of an agricultural work, has resulted in the waste of material resources, impoverishment of agricultural firms, and in the total - in social and economic crisis.

Today in the relations "man - land" moral, legal, economic, ecological, technological, psychological and other problems of a life of society are closely interwoven, which has become traditional during a long period of time. Their complex solution will need long-term and laborious work on ensuring the transition to the multistructure, requiring payments forms of the land usage with different aspects of the property (private, collective, municipal, federal), to the land usage on the basis of the strict legal rules, ecological criteria, rules of the civilised market concerning co-ordinated solution of the nearest and more remote problems of an effective use of a huge land potential of Russia.

Social and economic changes should become a core of land transformations, which should result irrevocable to embodiment the fact that the interest of separate territory, small or large, and Russia as a whole can be realised only through sufficing of the initial producer interests, interests of an direct owner or tenant farmer.

Russia is now facing a complicated problem of creation of the Russian system of land use, which would allow uniting freedom of land possession and social justice in land use.

As to the usage of foreign experience in the field of the land use system, approach should be rather critical and justified. When referring to it first of all it is necessary to know, that in the majority of countries there is no free land turnover, there was none in the past and there will be none in the future. The market land turnover is present (in developed countries) only within the framework of a reasonable management system from the legal, administrative and financial points of view. Besides present western systems of land use even in industrially developed countries have serious drawbacks. Land gamble and appropriation of the rent owned by society frequently accompany sale and purchase of land, founded on private property. The economic base of this fact is that in the process of the society development "pressure on ground " will increase, resulting in sharper rise of the land prices in comparison with prices for other goods. In Germany, for example, for the last 30 years prices at whole have grown threefold, and building land lots prices have grown 16 times.

Land is given to mankind by the nature, therefore it is public property. Legal equality in the land use under the condition of free travelling and its free-of-charge grant - is the major principle of the agrarian question solution in any country. The practice of many countries has worked out an efficient and fair principle of land use, according to which the land lots are not sold, but are only transferred to the usage on the basis of the hereditary law of building. The users of these lots receive them free-of-charge under the condition of annual payment of the tax, which is the function of advantages from their usage. On the other hand, these land lots can freely be inherited, transferred, left as a deposit to ensure a credit. In Switzerland such land lots are called "sites of the building tenancy", in Germany - " sites of the hereditary law of building ". This right is conceded for the term of from 50 till 99 years.

The land use on the basis of annual payment of the land tax corresponds more to the conditions of the market economy, rather than when the land property is redeemed by means of one-time payment of a purchase price. In a normally developed economy, especially at a local level, the land tax should constitute a constant basis of public expenses on formation, public health services, settlements infrastructure maintaining. Therefore, it has to be paid annually.

During the privatisation of firms the object of businessman' activity - firm, buildings, equipment, technologies etc. are given into his free disposal. As for land, businessman needs it to be his permanent property only as a territorial base. In every moment a businessman can quite freely close a firm, sell it, eventually, destroy. The land lot can not be subject to "closing" or "erasure".

The world practice shows, that the mass sale of land, as a rule, is followed by a wave of gamble and divides at once the society on those, who have an advantage and those, whose opportunities have been infringed. The relations based on the land use, which are founded on a private property on land and its sale and purchase in the pure state, do not correspond to the patterns of market economy aimed at achievement of a social equality. Private property on land is a rudiment of slave-owning system, which the majority of countries have refused long before and shifted to the concept " the right of the land use ".

The land relations founded on the right of land use do not prevent foreign capital inflow, which is interested in investments in buildings, machines and technologies, however stable political situation is necessary for its encouraging, and as to land, here it is enough to have the right of its long-term use. In such country, rich with land resources, as ours, financial means to satisfy social, educational, ecological needs should be created first of all by a system of payments for the right of the land use.

Today the land policy in Russia should promote a solution of two interdependent problems. At first, it should help to cope with priorities on overcoming an economic crisis and its social consequences, and secondly, it should create territorial reasons for accomplishment of a radical structural reorganisation in economy. The measures of setting the priorities of crisis period should be closely linked to measures on a solution of the future main problems.

Thus it is necessary to take permanently into account such rather important circumstance, as the fact that Russian economy is a multiregional organism operating on the junction of vertical (centre - localities) and horizontal interactions. Territorial variety of Russia limits radicalism in social and economic reforms and also prevents the domination of any single aspect of social and economic policy, for example, of private property on land. On the other hand, the centuries-old experience of the countries development in the world shows, that the uncontrolled market relations in their pure state can not solve regional problems. Regulated territorial development can be subject to only state actions in a deciding degree.

The important role in real Russian land policy following belongs to the state. Connected with it are some large problems requiring an urgent state solution. First of all it is necessary to pass the land Code of Russian Federation in a short term. The land Code is a basic limiting legislative act, which, as a rule, is placed after the Constitution and Civil code in any state of the world. In Russian Federation the adoption of the land Code has been blocked for already five years. As a result today there is no integral system of land legislation in the country. A considerable part of the land legal norms currently in force is obsolete and has exhausted itself, many norms have contradictory character. There is a replacing of the land legal norms to the other legislative acts (Wood code, Town-planning code, Water code, Federal Acts on Agricultural co-operation, on Entrails of the Earth and others). Especially impermissible situation has developed with municipalities, which have begun taking functions of the state in the field of the land relations.

The passing of the Land Code will allow to liquidate a withstanding between legislative and executive federal public authorities, between federal and regional authorities, to implement the Chapter 17 of the Civil Code of Russian Federation, to apply in full extent other federal acts, where references are made to the Code on the questions of ownership, use and the disposal of the land lots.

The main matter of argument in the text of last edition of the Land Code is the problem of sale of lands granted for an agricultural production and farmer economy maintenance. According to our opinion, this conflict of duties can be arranged by the conciliatory decision on the introduction of the moratorium on the agricultural lands sale during a transition period of 10 years, having given the subjects of Russian Federation a right to establish the concrete duration of the indicated moratorium, depending on local conditions. During a transition period it is necessary to complete a state valuation of land and to create on this basis an infrastructure of a land turnover, the land markets regulated by the state and improve a tax system considerably.

One of the major tasks of the state consists in defining of lands of federal value in the land fund of the country, ensuring a control of usage of these lands and collecting of appropriate payments to the federal budget. On the Round Table meeting of December 26, 1997 the first President of Russian Federation B. N. Yeltsin has said: " I think, that it is necessary to restore a federal state land ownership in land legislation. Without it the state can not provide full defence and safety, defend its boundaries, develop a uniform infrastructure, transport and communication systems, save the nature ". The subject is, as a matter of fact, integrity of the Russian State.

The today's practice is that many subjects of Russian Federation and the municipalities dispose of lands of federal value in a self-dependent way, therefore the balanced operation of the Russian national economy is upset.

More than 20 federal acts were passed in 1991-1999, formally proclaiming the federal property on land. At the same time the concrete mechanisms of defining the land lot by an appropriate type of property are not present, what results in the numerous law quarrels, which will be inevitably increasing in quantity.

Under our calculations, approximately 540 million hectares of lands (32 % of the common land fund) is the federal property, thus it is necessary to allot these lands, legislatively and administratively, to the federal property and to adjust their management. After the public lands differentiation the state role in the creation of a competitive market environment for supporting an efficient landowner, from one side, and from the other - in the creation of a common legal and information space for government administration of the country land fund, will become more important.

It is natural, that the government administration in the presence of different landowners has mainly regulative and co-ordinating functions. We are faced with an important work to create in new conditions a set of instruments of the government administration of the country land fund - state land cadastre, state land usage managing, land-use system, land valuation and management regarding land as a system of interdependent elements for the state adoption of administrative solutions. It will be necessary to adopt (legislatively) a rule - to accept state administrative solutions and to realise the landowner rights at federal, regional and local levels only on the basis of the data of forecasts and scheduling of land use.

One more serious problem, which the state is facing, is a necessity of the agricultural land use conversion on a basis of the self-sufficient food production demand. In the beginning of the century Russia was the big exporter of grain, oil, meat, but, as an outstanding Russian scientific D. I. Mendeleev mentioned, our grain export was the function of our industrial backwardness, instead of agricultural advance. In 1911 out of 72 million tons of the grain produced 14 million tons was sold abroad. The same year about 30 million people were starving in the country. In 1909-1913 Russia effected only 450 kgs of a grain per capita, whereas Sweden - 490, Belgium - 660, Denmark - 850, and USA - almost 1100 kgs. Having meagre grain yields, within the limits of 0.6-0.8 tons per hectare, the country exported food at the expense of undernourishment of many millions of its population.

Primary goal of an agrarian reform in Russia in the 90th was land privatisation and both collective farms and state farms reorganisation with the purpose of the efficient agricultural production system creation on the basis of private property on land and personal ability to enterprise of the producers of agricultural production.

The transfer of land to the property was realised on the scheme of land division on relative land shares among the agricultural firms' members. The result of these reforms was that 11,8 million of Russian peasants have received the right on a land lot.

Owners of a land unit have been disposing them as follows:

  • More than 5 million peasants (42,5 %) have transferred land lots in rent;
  • About 1,8 million man (15,2 %) have transferred the right of land lot use in the agricultural firms share capital;
  • About 0,9 million man (7,2 %) became using land lots for personal subsidiary and farming activity;
  • A little bit more than half a million peasants (4,2 %) have transferred land shares in share capitals.

Thus, about 70 % of the land lots owners have used them in some way. An important part of peasants (about 30 %) have done nothing with their land lot yet.

The Russian model of land reforms in a village was initially based on the principle of social justice, instead of economic efficiency. So, an important part of a land lots was received by retirees and the social village sphere workers, though it was quite obvious that they hardly can work on land, the way it took place in practice. Only 5 % of peasants quitted collective farms and state farms and have created their own farms, and the main part has transferred their land lots in rent. The amount of the rent charge is from 5-10 % of an annual yield cost in southern regions up to the sum of the annual land tax in northern regions.

The reorganisation of the biggest part of collective farms and state farms mainly in the societies with limited authority and co-operatives has taken place in a formal way. Out of 25,8 thousand collective farms and state farms (1990) there was created 5,4 thousand joint-stock companies, 6,7 thousand societies with limited authority, 11,6 thousand agricultural cooperatives, and 3,2 thousand state unitary and municipal firms.

As to area indexes, out of 220 million hectares of agricultural lands in Russia 138,1million hectares in private property, including 116,2 million hectares - owned by the land lots owners 11,7 million hectares - owned by farmers and 10,2 million hectares - in personal use of citizens. The land lot owners have transferred in rent 56,1 million hectares (48,3 %). Agricultural firms without owing any legal right use the remaining grounds.

The analysis of agricultural firms' activity for the last years shows, that the effected reorganisation of farms has not resulted in the rise of the total efficiency of their production. The reorganisation which has been not supported by an appropriate macroeconomic development, effected in the price disparity situation (the prices on production factors grew almost 5 times faster, than the prices on agricultural products), certainly can not result in the rise of the sector effectiveness. Agricultural production became unprofitable. Only minor part of big farms has adapted to new economic conditions, has won a place on the market and develops efficiently.

On the other hand, economic instability in the country, unemployment growth, price disparity has made personal subsidiary production rather important both for agricultural and urban population. The share of personal part-time farm in gross agricultural production was approximated to 50 %, in potatoes production it is more than 90 %, vegetables production - about 80 %, meat production - 60 %, milk production - about 50 %.

Here, according to our opinion, those economists are right who consider that productless form of production defines, to a certain extent, (and saves for the future) low effectiveness of the agrarian sector of Russia. The world experience testifies, that only commodity realisation of agricultural production creates a necessary financial basis for the introduction of modern technologies, usage of high-performance machines and mechanisms, cutting of losses and on this basis - for the systematic agricultural production effectiveness growing. The demand for production, instead of natural economy directly defines the agriculture effectiveness growth.

One of the effective market instruments oriented on the agriculture effectiveness growth, is credit. The crisis of 1998 in Russia has definitively undermined the system of agrarian credit, which has just begun to gain force, and is most probable, that now only centralised subsidies of the state will again become a unique credit facility of agriculture, as the farmer co-operation in Russia is now in rudimentary state. The share of gross production of the farmers is hardly more than 2 %, and on such yields, as a potatoes, meat, and milk it is 1 %.

It is clear, that in any case for the Russian agriculture state support is essentially necessary. The experience shows that if it is present, the agricultural sector develops normally, if is not present - it is rather poor. During last years the far-fetched and not professional point of view is forced through, that for the Russians all agricultural problems are reduced to a problem of the introduction of private property on land. In Russia there is no actual demand for land in countryside. This demand is minor and is decreasing from year to year, and tens millions hectares of land leave an industrial usage.

Most valuable part of agricultural lands - arable lands for the last 7 years has decreased by 7,5 million hectares - to compare with 1,5 million hectares for the 20-year's phase 1971-1990. The productive lands, as before, were transferred to building, transport communications construction, industrial firms. The monitoring shows, that in most cases demands of the industrialists concerning the getting of additional lands were not at all the result production necessity, but based on strictly commercial interests linked to future resale of land or transferring it in rent. It shows that the system of economical land usage is seriously damaged.

Serious problem is the sharp cutting of amounts of works on lands improving. The surface of irrigated lands decreased more than on 30 %, and drained - on 60 % from 1990 to 2000. The land usage, which exhausts soil, has resulted in sharp falling of agricultural plant productivity.

And in the beginning of XXI century the ineffective agricultural land use has the influence on standard of living, life, culture of our rural fellow citizens, and results in the extreme weakness of agricultural material base, backwardness of infrastructure. The Russian agricultural workers are using technical means of production one time less productive than are farmers of the USA. Comparing labour productivity of the Russian and foreign peasants, one should not forget that for the Western farmers all manufacturing processes in plant and animal industries are completely mechanised, and in Russia only the fragments of these processes are mechanised. In the agriculture of Russia the share of manual skills continues to make more than 70 %, resulting in its low efficiency. Funds and capital equipment per an agricultural worker is several times lower, than per an employee in industrial sector, though in developed countries of the world the farmer is equipped 1,5-2 times better, than any worker of industrial firms. The weakness of material base of agriculture, poor quality and unreliability of the production factors, standard of living, life, backwardness of an infrastructure are constantly constraining the rates and scales of reproduction in the Russian food complex, therefore, the land providing is not an only factor of efficient work of the farmer.

The today's complicated situation in countryside of Russia - is the result of serious mistakes of last decades, and especially of the last decade, both in a national economic policy as a whole, and in agrarian questions in particular.

The main reason of low effectiveness of agricultural land use of Russia is the neglect of material base, that is backwardness of our industry, and this backwardness, alongside with an organisational confusion of agricultural reforming, huge rise of prices on resources, today influence the peasants labour productivity, soils fertility, fields and farms productivity, an amount and quality of domestic food supplied on the market.

The raise of the Russian agricultural land use effectiveness should go owing to a complex of the common and private problems solution, such as: development of variety of forms of ownership, including property on land; perfecting of the land relations, first of all through the development of pledge and rent institutions; taxation system reforming by means of the common agricultural (land) tax introduction; re-equipment of material and technical base of a process industry; rapid development of rural social life; eradication of administrative methods of control, transition to the market relations and others. Starting solving the today's problems of agricultural land use in Russia, it is necessary to consider the low land productivity, insufficient quantity of grain, forages, fruits and vegetables production, their low quality. During the years of reforms the destruction in agrarian and industrial complex has become so serious, that to achieve the improvement of the situation with domestic food products in coming years, only the non-standard approaches, concentration of means and powers on one of the key sectors are necessary.

The world experience of the agricultural land use development shows that we have to search for the solution of this complicated problem in the forages production growth. Because of the lack of forages Russia has to import cattle-breeding production in large volumes.

The calculations show, that the forages production in the scale of branch should be enlarged by the order in deadlines. It is not real to make it only due to grain and fodder plants, as in 1960-1990 the increase of grain productivity has amounted to only 0.7-0.8 tons per hectare and has reached 0.15 tons per hectare by the end of this period. In the following eight years the grain productivity has fallen down to 0.10 tons per hectare. The increase of mineral fertilisers deliveries and use of reclaimed grounds can not be expected in the following years, therefore the raise of productivity of natural haymaking and pastures should become one of the possible ways of the forages output growth. In foreign countries, especially in the regions of sufficient humidification, farmers begun creating areas under perennial fodder crops.

Having created for 2-3 years highly productive meadows (the pastures give 0.80-0.120 tons per hectare, haymaking - 0.70-0.80 tons per hectare, calculating the amount of hay), farmers use these lands under crops during 20 and even 30 years. Having made capital investments once, they should not plough and sow each year. In the result the prime cost of the production of 1 fodder unit on arable pastures and haymaking is 2-3 times lower, than at cultivation of fodder crops on the arable land.

Following this direction many developed countries have considerably increased the areas of haymaking and pastures in the last years. In Germany, France, Great Britain, Sweden and other countries of Western Europe practically all haymaking and pastures are cultivated, in USA they make one-third, and in our country - only few percents.

Basing on the results of the establishing price policy analysis, it is possible to make a conclusion, that today each metric centner of the grain output increase per hectare becomes more and more capital- and energy-consuming. Therefore, laying accounts with the natural haymaking and pastures productivity raise and improving the land use structure in this direction, the country actually follows the fastest and cheapest way in comparison with big investments in a power-consuming chemicalisation and melioration.

We think, that such way is effective for the fodder and, consequently, food problem solution at the simultaneous conservation of a part of arable lands. We underline, that the strengthen of fodder base in our country owing to the natural haymaking and pastures productivity raise, as well as fodder plants on the arable lands, becomes a short-term strategic goal of great importance. By such means the agriculture will not only increase volume of the forages production, but also stabilise the fodder base, achieving the balance between proteins and carbohydrates. Due to its social; and political and social and economic significance this program could be equated to the new program of land reform.

The agricultural land use state analysis stated above shows, that the objective conditions for the turnover of agricultural lands by means of their free sale and purchase are absent in Russia, therefore it is necessary to effect a strict state control over their turnover in a transition period. Besides the complex of measures on limitation of the agricultural land turnover should be introduced. Among these measures it is possible to state the following: imposition of a ban on the agricultural lands sale to the foreign subjects; installation of periods of the ban on repeated sale and modification of a special-purpose designation of a land lot after its obtaining; limitation of a group of men having the right on the agricultural land lots acquiring by the introduction of qualifying requirements; limitation of a maximum size of these lots which can be owned by physical and legal entities; introduction of the real taxation of agricultural lands and real requirements on the soils fertility maintenance, their engineering arrangement. The similar measures were applied and are applied nowadays by many countries in the world.

One more important goal for the land relations reforming is the accomplishment on all territory of a state cadastral land valuation and ensuring the transition to the land payments system forming on the base of rental land cost. The analysis of the land payments system (payments for the land use are introduced in Russia since 1992) showed that it does not meet modern realities of creation of the system of the land relations economic regulation and control over the land resources. The reasons for this discrepancy are that the land payments cover less than one-third of land fund; low rates of payments; there is a big number of people who have the privilege not to make payments; profits from land payments are used in a no-purpose way; range of the land payments forms is limited. It is obvious, that serious alternations should be made urgently to an acting system of land payments. At their preparing it is necessary to be based on the fact that the rates of land payments should be economically significant and strictly correspond to rental profitability of the land lot in question; the land payments should be obligatory for all land users without any exception; preferential taxation should be regulated only by amounts and terms of payments and dues; the system of land payings except for the land tax and rent charge should include and lump sums for a modification of the agricultural lands target usage, and also dues from transactions on land, for the land information use, penalties; the land payments should be fixed for 3 - 5 years.

The conducted calculations show, that the transition to a new system of land payments will allow to increase their annual volumes to 40-50 billion rubles, including urban land and villages - to 30-40 billion rubles.

The profits from land payments should be legislatively distributed between the budgets levels in the following proportion: the federal budget - 30 %, budgets of the subjects of Russian Federation - 20 %, budgets of correspondent local authorities - 50 %.

Taking into account constant and stable character of the land payments profits reception in the local budgets revenues, these profits can form the basis for the financing of works on land improvement, national education, public health services, as it is in practice in many countries of the world.

It is possible to provide civilized crediting of agricultural firms, peasant (farmer) and private part-time farms, individual housing construction in countryside, having created a system of the Russian state land bank. The world experience shows convincingly that the major institution of land reforms is the system of specialized land banks.

For example, forming of the system of financial and credit support for agrarian sector of economy is major part of ensuring its efficient functioning in the USA. In the beginning of the last century 12 federal land banks accountable to the Agricultural Credits Council were organized in the USA. By the year 2000 total amount of borrowed funds in the agriculture of the country has totaled more than 160 billion dollars.

In 1956 in the USA the special Land bank was founded; it paid the subsidies to the farmers who reduced the surfaces of the lands in use. Due to its activity more than 23 million hectares of land already is excluded from agricultural use, and by the year 2005 the exclusion of about 11 million hectares more is expected. The problem of the agricultural lands conservation became today actual and for Russia as well.

In our opinion, main areas of activity of land banks in our country should be the following: assistance to land reforms conducting and the regulated market development by the way of conducting operations of the land lots pledge; mobilization of financial resources, including by the securities issue, on the land and agroindustrial reform measures financing; credit and investment support of the goods producers in agriculture, individual housing construction and other forms of activity linked to the land usage; investment and crediting of programs of food complex support and development, including the fertility raise programs, land protection, and also resettlement on the Russian territory; execution of operations with the land payments profits, and means being compensation for losses, connected with agricultural grounds exclusion for not agricultural needs.

It would be expedient to conduct the creation of an organizational structure of the Russian state land bank system (republican, regional, district and urban offices, computer provision, communication, personnel) in two stages, at the first stage having given the land bank functions to several reliable commercial banks, thus being based on the usage of their infrastructure and personnel. At the second stage it is expedient to create a system of specialized Russian State land bank with the other banks drawing in.

The bank capital is a main factor and mechanism of settling and development of land turnover, which is understood primarily as their rent and pledge. It is easy to find examples, it is enough to analyze experience of land reforms in Russia in 1905-1915, when the land banks have greatly influenced the process of the establishing of the institution of private property on land and development of the land market. By 1915 the amount of loans given by all credit institutions totaled 3,5 billion rubles. 61 million dessiatina (164.7 million acres) of land - 56 % of private owned lands was pawned. Besides 1,7 billion rubles was given under the security of the urban real estate. Mortgage securities - stocks and bonds were highly quoted on stock exchanges, share land banks paid the highest dividends on these securities.

Actually for 20 years banks have been transformed the land relations of Russia, which, naturally, effected the productivity of agriculture. The grain yields for the years of an agrarian reform (1906-1912) have been steadily augmenting with the rise of number of the land lots, transferred from communal land tenure to the peasants private property, and according to growing of the credits to these farms.

The land turnover reviving in conditions of a present transient state of the Russian economy can be promoted by the following measures: forming of a chain of land mortgage banks at the active state assistance; accomplishment of a cadastral and market valuation of land resources; creation of a system of legislative protection of the land ownership rights; forming of a common federal system of the state land cadastre and registrations of the real estate ownership right; creation of credit resources owing to the attracting of the means of population through the mechanism of loan interest ratio lowering and deposit interest ratio augmenting, and on this basis - the transformation of credit resources in a principal source of the investments, and also means of the Russian and foreign investors; setting into motion of the whole system of the economic forms according the scheme: credit resources - investments - economic growth - incomes.

Unfortunately, these major factors of establishing and development of the agricultural land turnover at the first stage of a land reform in Russia were not involved.

At the same time the interior land lots turnover at a present stage of land reforms becomes the important basic element of the state economy functioning as a whole. Today it is important, that all range of land turnover elements (property laws market, market of the rights on rent, market of the rights on a land lot, mortgage market) work as one system. The second peculiarity of a transition period: the deeper market relations penetrate the economy, more we have ground to affirm, that the land turnover - first of all the process of land redistribution, land usage on a special-purpose designation, size of private land tenure should be under the effective state control.

The last years practice shows, that sporadic, unsystematic, private and local economic land measure can not be crowned with appreciable economic and ecological success. It is impossible to manage the land use and soil fertility without the creation of an efficiently functioning system of planning and land-use system. Engineering and adoption of the long-term (till 2010) development program of land transformations gain importance for Russia in the beginning of XXI century.

The scientifically justified integrated land use development program should include a complex of coordinated engineering, social and economic, ecological measures, as well as measures concerning the organization of the land use; the major measures are:

  • Regulating of processes of urbanization and industrialization, creation of a common system of settling, rational location of new industrial and agricultural settlements;
  • Development of an agricultural production;
  • Forming of an efficient transport and power engineering infrastructure;
  • Development of mining industries, as well as raw material processing (including agricultural) on place with the usage of high-performance methods of the production wastes recycle;
  • Effective use of forest and water resources;
  • Development of an effective system of public service, public holidays and tourism providing a satisfaction of the needs of population in medical services, education, consumer services;
  • Creation of a system of plantations of trees and shrubs which bear the functions of nature protection, recreation and technical functions;
  • Development of a system of measures preventing the degradation of lands;
  • Creation of a system of nature reserves, game reserves providing the landscapes and gene pool conservation.

The interdisciplinary, complex and purposeful character of problems being solved at the land use planning, makes necessary the usage of territorial, ecological and economical, systemic approaches which most fully correspond to the essence of such integrated and regularly updated documents as the national program of usage and protection of land resources of Russia.

In last 5-6 years great attention in our country was given to the particular questions of the land relations regulating (farm economy, reorganization of collective farms and state farms, providing land for the citizens, meager land tax collecting, plans of the cadastre creation etc.).

Actually land resources (under the screen of these plans, or better - talks) were transferred at the disposal of management of the subjects of Russian Federation, and questions of their exclusion and the redistribution were solved mainly by chiefs of the former Settlements Soviet (Council), Village Soviets and districts.

Due to the fact that lands, owned by the Russian State are still not divided on federal lands and lands of the subjects of Russian Federation, raw and natural monopolies, oil companies and other branches and firms actually use federal lands free-of-charge and thus appropriate the land rent, which is public property. Connected with this is one more problem of modern land use, which deserves attention. In particular, according to the economists, up to 20 billion dollars leaves the country annually, and the main part of these means falls on resource (rent-using) branches connected to land. Such losses on the level of the country budget became possible because of the gross errors of privatization connected with the transmission of rent, which belongs to the state, mineral resources users and intermediaries which go with them. State justice in this question should be immediately restored, even if for this purpose it is necessary to reconsider the results of privatization in resource branches and branches, which use land as space within the framework of the legislation. The taxable land and natural resources potential should belong to the Russian State, as the State alone can be a source of budgetary expenses cover.

The practical measures on the country rental potential realization can include: revising of a level of the resource prices on the basis of a world prices conjuncture; differentiation of methods of the resource payments calculation; raise of the natural resource rent quota in tax base; issue of the state land and resource loans as a basis of forming of the state securities market secured by natural resource potential. Today it is possible to make rouble stable, having converted it in rigid currency, only on this base.

Is a principal problem of a transition period, which affects directly the national safety of Russia. The committed error should be removed, first of all by regulating the land and natural resource relations. To provide the improvement of the current situation it is necessary to undertake the following steps:

  • To adopt as soon as possible the federal constitutional law "Basis of federal policy in the field of regulating of the relations on usage and protection of land, raw and bioclimatic resources of Russia ";
  • To work out and urgently adopt the package of the federal acts on regulating the particular composite land relations (differentiation of lands, valuation, land-use system, protection, rent, deposit, land surveying and topographical surveying, inspection, transactions);
  • To create in a rank of federal ministry a common federal body controlling land resources as a unique, multifunction and structurally complicated object. Its elements should be as follows: State Land Inspection, State Agency of the Federal Lands Control, State Department of the Land Cadastre and Registration of the Rights on Land, Russian State Land Bank, Land (Land Boundaries) Court of Russian Federation;
  • To work out and to adopt the federal target program " the Land of Russia - the raise of the effectiveness of usage ", paying special attention to prevention of lands degradation, development of agricultural land use, problem of settling, land payments on a rental basis, elimination of the land market crimes;
  • To work out, to adopt and to provide the realization of regional (of every subject of Russian Federation) target programs of arrangement and effective use of land resources;
  • To differentiate land fund of Russia by the levels of property (federal, regional, municipal);
  • To create a common information system of the land cadastre and registration of the rights on land and real estate;
  • To carry out a state valuation of all lands of the country;
  • To create a general land-use system.

The realization on a threshold of the XXI century of land reforms in Russia has three key directions: 1) reforming of the relations of the property on land; 2) registration and cost valuation on a rental basis of a land and resource potential as a part of national welfare of the country and its inclusion in a state balance sheet; 3) organization of efficient control over land resources as national property of the country, common space base of national economy and principal means of production in agriculture and forestry, without dependence on forms of ownership.

Huge land and resource potential, available for Russia, solution of the stated problems will allow our country to take a principal and key direction in a solution of complicated global scale problems (ecology, food, raw material, space).

At the same time it is impossible to exclude the fact that in XXI century other countries will have a strong desire to have a part of these richest territorial and raw resources. The threat to the national safety of Russia in connection with redistribution of world land resources reserves is rather possible, therefore the first care of the Russian state should consist in the saving of these resources for the people.