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

Issue 4 (5) 2000

Land Policy and Improvement of Land Relations in Russia at the Turn of the XXI century

Saj S.I., head of the Russian Federal Service of Land Cadastre

The centuries-old practice testifies that the main source of life and prosperity of any state are land resources owned by the state and population, living on them. Thus it is necessary to understand land resources not only as territory (space) of the state, but also as all that is found "above" and "under" this territory. Endowment of a country with land resources is a major economic and political factor of the development of social production. The presence of land resources gives wide space for the economic development of locales of Russia.

As it is represented to me, the problem of land conversions in Russia should be strategically solved not only and not as much in the sphere of landownership, but in the sphere of rights on the ways and results of usage of land resources as a plant of managing. Contemporary land policy should also be based on this important principle. For the last 10 years on the territory of Russia are practically created fundamentals of a new land system: the state monopoly on land is liquidated, the transition to variety of the landownership forms is realized; the free-of-charge redistribution of land for the benefit of the citizens is conducted; the stipendiary land use is entered; the main part of agricultural lands is transmitted to private property; the lands of wood fund, nature protection and other most valuable lands are in state ownership; an appreciable number of land and cadastral operations is carried out; conditions for a turnover of land are created.

At the same time, these years the state lost the strategic control of land and resource potential. It has resulted in the growth of rates of land degradation, termination of operations on raising of soils fertility and arrangement of lands, extreme weakness of the material base of agro-industrial complex, backwardness of its infrastructure, inefficiency of urban land use. It is necessary to agree with the fact that the market mechanisms in the pure state even in developed countries do not provide a solution of strategic problems of the organization of rational land use, protection of lands, steady alimentary and ecological safety. In Russia, therefore, it is necessary to realize such principle of efficient land use, as a harmonious combination of state support of rational land use and land protection and market mechanisms of self-regulation. The system of state regulation should include the following directions: legal ensuring; financial and credit support; infrastructural and informational supply; emergencies and natural disasters insurance; scientific ensuring; organizations on personnel training.

Thus it is necessary to take into account the rather important condition, that the economy of Russia is a multi-regional organism, operating on the junction of vertical (centers - locales) and horizontal interactions. Dimensional variety of Russia is a principal "clipper" of radicalism in social and economic reforming, and also a major encumbrance against prevalence of any aspect of social and economic policy, for example, of private property on land. On the other hand, the centuries-old experience of the world country development displays that the noncontrollable market relations in the pure state can not solve regional problems. Governed territorial development can be solved in a deciding degree only by a state action. In this connection some large problems demanding urgent state consideration appear. First of all, it is necessary in the short term to pass the Land Code of Russian Federation. Other major problem of the state consists in accomplishment of work on selection from the country land fund of the lands of federal value, ensuring of the control of usage of these lands and collecting of appropriate payings in the federal budget.

Besides, a big work is to be done on creation in the new conditions of instruments of government administration of the country's land fund - the state cadastre, state control over usage of lands, land-use system, valuation and monitoring of lands as systems of interdependent elements for the state decision-making. It will be necessary to install legislatively a rule - to accept state administrative decisions and to realize the rights of the owner at federal, regional and local levels only on the basis of prediction and scheduling of land use. A today's complicated situation in a countryside of Russia is an outcome of large miscalculations of last decades, and especially the last one, both in a national economic policy as a whole, and in agrarian questions in particular. The raise of efficiency of the Russian agricultural land use should proceed at the expense of a solution of complex of common and private problems, such as development of variety of patterns of ownership, including on land; perfection of land relations, first of all through development of mortgage and rent institutions; reforming of the taxation system by the way of introduction of a common agricultural (land) tax. In connection with this an aim important for the land relations reform is the accomplishment on all territory of a state cadastral land valuation and ensuring transition on a system of land payings calculated on the basis of rental cost on land. The analysis of the land payings system (land use is payable in Russia since 1992) has shown, that it does not respond to modern demands of creation of a system of economic regulating of the land relations and control of land resources. The reasons of this non-conformity are: land payings cover less than one third of land fund; low rates of payings; there is a big number of persons exempted from payings; means from land payings are used in a no-purpose way; number of methods of payment for land is restricted. In this connection, it is obvious, that it is necessary to bring serious modifications to an acting system of land payings urgently.

At their preparing it is necessary to be based on a fact that the rates of land payings should be economically significant and strictly correspond to rental profitability of the appropriate land lot; land payings should be obligatory for all land-users; the preferential taxation should depend only on amount and terms of payings and collectings; the system of payings for land, except for the land tax and rent charge, should include lump sum payments for a modification of target usage of agricultural lands, and also land transaction payments, payments for the land information use, penalties; the land payings should be fixed for a three-five years' period. The following measures can promote the development of a land turnover in conditions of a present transient state of the Russian economy: creation of a web of land mortgage banks at active involvement of the state; accomplishment of a cadastral and market valuation of land resources; creation of a system of legislative protection of the rights on landownership; creation of a common federal system of the state land cadastre and registration of rights on real estate; creation of credit resources at the expense of engaging of means of the population through the mechanism of lowering of the loan interest standard and growth of the deposits percent standard, and on this basis - transformation of credit resources in a principal source of the investments, and also means of the Russian and foreign investors.

The practice of last years shows, that sporadic, unsystematic, private and local land economic measures can not bring an appreciable economic and ecological success. To govern land use and fertility of land is impossible without creation of an accurately acting system of scheduling and land-use system. Engineering and adoption of a long-term (till the year 2010) development program of land conversions has become important for Russia on a verge of XXI century. The Earth can not bear vanity. The realization of land conversions in Russia on a verge of XXI century includes three key directions: first - reforming the land property relations; second - registration and cost appraisal on a rental basis of the land and resource potential in a composition of national wealth of the country and its inclusion in state balance; third - organization of efficient control over land resources of the country as over national property, universal dimensional base of a national economy and principal means of production in agriculture and forestry, without dependence on patterns of ownership.

To provide conducting of an efficient policy in the field of the land relations is possible at realization of the following institution demands: presence of a common state land body responsible for regulating of land use and support of the land cadastre; creation of the accessible and open registry of all land lots of the country, their holders and users; conducting of land valuation by an independent state body and on this basis - accomplishment of the annual registration of rental cost of all land lots; presence of a simple appellate system of land tribunal.