Alexander Dvoinykh: War veterans should be provided with land free of charge

People who, risking their lives, fulfill their civil, military duty, have the right to receive a free land plot from the state. However, there is no such provision in federal law. When can amendments be adopted that allow combatants to receive land from the state, what needs to be done so that there are no abandoned agricultural lands in Russia, and how can farmers avoid technological “hunger” against the backdrop of Western sanctions? This was told to Parliamentary Newspaper by the head of the Committee of the Federation Council on Agrarian and Food Policy and Environmental Management Alexander Dvoinykh.

Interest-free mortgage for large families

– Alexander Vladimirovich, the issue of providing free land to war veterans. The idea is good, but there were situations when, for example, large families (and also free of charge) were allocated plots of land on the outskirts, where there was not even a basic infrastructure. How, in your opinion, to solve this problem?

– I think that now we have moved to the stage when we need to move from the number of provided free plots for large families to ensuring the necessary quality of life on such lands. There is already accumulated regional experience – if the site is provided where there is already a collective development, then the efficiency of its use is many times higher.

Indeed, there are difficult areas for the implementation of legislation on the free provision of land due to limited land resources. For example, the republics of the North Caucasus have a very small amount of suitable free land, while the authorities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are forced to acquire land in the territory of neighboring regions in order to provide it to their beneficiaries. Based on the results of the analysis of regional practices, we will form our proposals for improving the legislation on the preferential provision of land plots. I think that this will happen in the first half of 2023.

– As a rule, beneficiaries – the same large families – are poor people, often there is no money even to pay a mortgage. In your opinion, can a zero rate loan for the construction of private houses for privileged categories of citizens appear in Russia in the foreseeable future?

– I believe that the time has come to discuss the topic of interest-free mortgages for large families for the construction of their homes. If there are problems with demography, then it must be solved not only by issuing land, but also by stimulating people to build individual residential buildings on it.

– What other initiatives for the development of individual construction in rural areas are currently being worked out in your committee?

– Recently, a draft law from the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Karelia has been submitted for consideration on granting land plots free of charge to war veterans for individual housing construction. This practice, by the way, existed in Soviet times, but in modern Russia there is no such norm at the level of federal legislation. This initiative is supported by the committee. I am sure that today such a law will find wide support in society.

Residents don’t have to worry

– It’s no secret that Russia has a huge amount of abandoned agricultural land. At the same time, such territories have owners who deliberately hold them in order to use them for speculation. What measures should be taken to return agricultural land to circulation?

– Of course, agricultural land that is not used for its intended purpose, the state needs to seize and return to agricultural circulation. But, according to the current legislation, this can be done, unless the site has been used for its intended purpose for more than three years. In this case, the period is considered from the moment the fact of downtime is established by the regulatory authorities. From this moment until the court decision on the seizure of the land, the owners resell the land to another owner, and the three-year period begins to count from the beginning. To put things in order here, amendments to the law have been prepared that change the procedure for calculating the term and allow you to start the procedure for the forced withdrawal of a land plot immediately if at the time of the check it has not been used for more than three years. These changes were approved by the senators at the last meeting of the Federation Council.

The second bill concerns the involvement in the circulation of agricultural land that was once acquired on shares. The problem is that after the death of the owner of such a share, very often the heirs do not accept this inheritance, and the municipal authorities, by law, cannot take this land as escheated property. According to experts, in Russia the volume of such lands is about one and a half million (!) Hectares. The bill will allow municipalities and regions to take such land in favor of the state – I think it can be adopted by parliament as early as the spring session of 2023.

– When the authorities began to talk about the withdrawal of agricultural land, many summer residents became worried – but do these decisions threaten the withdrawal of those lands on which their country houses stand today? Is there a possibility of such a development of events?

– I can reassure you that there are no risks for the owners of country houses.

The forest as a place of leisure

– One of the problems that our manufacturers are talking about today is problems with agricultural machinery. Most of it was supplied from Western countries, with which today trade is either extremely difficult or completely blocked. How, in your opinion, will Russian farmers get out of a difficult situation?

– We must pay tribute to our farmers – this season they went very, very worthily, updating the record for harvesting. Why did the sanctions not affect it? Firstly, the farmers had a stock of equipment and spare parts for it. Secondly, “parallel imports” have begun to work, and Western agricultural machinery manufacturers do not want to lose the huge and promising Russian market at all. And today it is occupied by products from China, where they are already orienting their production with might and main to the production of agricultural machinery for Russia. Export from Belarus, famous for its agricultural machinery, is extremely promising – here we have a huge potential in creating and expanding cooperative industries that will meet both Russian and Belarusian agricultural needs.

But we must not forget about our manufacturers – according to experts, today they have managed to occupy up to 50 percent of the Russian agricultural machinery market, and create technologies that are competitive in the world. For our part, we will ensure that our agriculture does not experience technological hunger. In particular, together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, to identify those niches where the shortage of equipment should be closed as quickly as possible, as well as to develop new mechanisms to support domestic agricultural engineering.

Read also:

• Land – to peasants under a simplified procedure

– What other legislative initiatives are being prepared by your committee for submission to the State Duma?

– One of the issues that needs to be urgently addressed is to increase the comfort and safety of family vacations in the forests.

Senators and deputies of the State Duma have submitted a bill with our amendments, which will allow the use of forests as forest park zones. This is necessary so that the forests have the infrastructure necessary for the recreation of citizens. Now there are legislative bans on the placement in the forests of a full-fledged infrastructure for bike paths and ski-roller tracks. By this law, we will solve a number of tasks – we will ensure the fire and sanitary safety of forests, the preservation of natural ecosystems from the consequences of spontaneous recreation, we will create conditions for visiting forests by all categories of citizens.

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