[permaculture] Land Privatization

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Mon Apr 18 22:23:56 EDT 2016

[worth reading at least by those interested in rural agrarian communalist
settlements and networks of such, another in a series of posts on peasant

Land Privatization

The End of the Beginning

Europe and Eurasia
Foreign and Defense Policy

[image: Russian Outlook]

Between the route to capitalism taken by most post-Communist nations and
the West European and American experience, two distinctions stand out.
First, the former attempted a leap to modern liberal capitalism without key
normative, legal, and economic attributes of its foundation in the West.
These included the separation of economic possession from political power,
the sanctity of the contract, the impartiality of the courts, and
self-policing professional associations. Absent were such elements of the
Western economic system—taken for granted in the West—as the private
ownership of large industrial enterprises and the right to hire and fire
workers, to charge market prices for rent and utilities, and to buy and
sell land.

Second, the attempt to implement such practices occurred within a
bare-bones and flawed but real democracy, often against well-organized
popular opposition. Few issues illustrate this predicament more vividly
than the privatization of Russian urban and agricultural land. Although the
story is far from over, the events of the past few months have probably
given this revolutionary transformation a decisive momentum.

*The Legacy of State Monopoly*

Before the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, private ownership of land was well
established in Russian cities. But no more than 10 percent of agricultural
land was in private hands (the landed gentry, merchants, and farmers).[1]
The rest belonged to the *mir, *the village commune, from which a male head
of household received a land allotment and to which the plot reverted after
his death.

On October 26, 1917, one of the first decrees of the Bolsheviks’ first day
in power abolished private ownership of land. The 1922 land code
nationalized all land and prohibited its purchase, sale, bequest, and
mortgage. Land in cities became state property together with all buildings.
In the countryside land was divided among the peasant families. The use of
hired labor was banned. Leasing, however, was permitted, and allowed the
more productive and ambitious peasants to increase their holdings. Even
with severe limitations, between 1920 and 1928 these family farms produced
an abundance of food, which Soviet Russia would not know for the rest of
the twentieth century.

Between 1929 and 1933 Stalin’s murderous collectivization destroyed family
farms. More than 5 million hard-working peasant families, each averaging
five to seven members [2],were labeled kulaks, stripped of all their
possessions, and exiled to swamps and forests of the north, where many died
of disease, starvation, and exhaustion from punitive labor. Those remaining
in the villages were robbed even of seed grain by state requisitions; an
additional 7-8 million starved to death in 1932-1933 alone. Almost six
decades of serfdom followed as peasants were denied internal passports,
prohibited from leaving their villages, and forced to work in collective
farms for meager—and irregular—payments in kind.

Productivity plunged. Soviet agriculture was never to reach the level of
the 1920s. Shortages of most staples—meat, milk, butter, flour—tormented
the country. Except for a handful of the largest cities, meat was rationed.
Beginning in the mid-1960s, the country that encompassed millions of acres
of the world’s most fertile black soil and which before 1917 had been known
as the breadbasket of Europe, imported millions of tons of grain annually.
By the 1980s every third loaf of bread sold in the USSR was made from
foreign grain.[3]

*Land Reform, 1990-1997*

>From the collapsing Soviet Union, Russia inherited almost 89 million acres
of state-owned land in urban and industrial areas and 27,000 collective
farms on 548 million acres of agricultural land—the latter territory four
times the size of France. Forty million people, or one-fourth of the
Russian population, derived their livelihood from agriculture. At least 80
percent of the collective farms were de facto bankrupt and survived with
state subsidies that amounted to 10 percent of the Soviet GDP.

In November and December 1990, under Boris Yeltsin’s chairmanship, the
Congress of People’s Deputies of Russia, then part of the Soviet Union,
adopted three laws that were to form the legal foundation for the first
stage of land reform. The laws on land reform, on the peasant farm, and on
private property repudiated the state monopoly on land, transferred—free of
charge—the ownership of agricultural land from the state to private
individuals and collective farms, and required farms to reorganize as
joint-stock companies. The legislative package established the procedures
for dividing land and assets among collective farm members and employees
and affirmed the unconditional right of peasants to leave a state farm with
their fair share of land and assets and to set up individual farms.

In addition to peasants, land was to be distributed to any other qualified
individuals who requested it and intended to use it for agricultural
purposes. The laws acknowledged the existence of private property and
permitted the buying and selling of land. (The latter right was promptly
nullified by the leftist plurality in the legislature, which pushed through
a ten-year moratorium on the sale of land.) The next year an amendment to
the Constitution of the Russian Soviet Socialist Federated Republic
recorded the right to land ownership by legal entities other than the state.

In December 1991, a few days before the demise of the Soviet Union,
Yeltsin’s presidential decree ordered collective farms to expedite the
transfer of land to their members, who were to hold the number of shares
commensurate with the length of their work on the farm. The decree also
allowed the sale and lease of land shares to other collective farm members
(though not to the outsiders).

Over the next five years twelve presidential decrees and government
resolutions confirmed the right of and outlined procedures for former
collective farm employees to obtain their share of land and property, to
exchange those shares for physical assets, and to leave kolkhozy and
sovkhozy for private farms. Adopted in a national referendum on December
12, 1993, the Constitution of the Russian Federation declared that land
could be private property (article 9) and affirmed the right of citizens
and their organizations to “to have land in private ownership” (article 36).

In this gradual but steady legislative advance toward private land, two
documents may be considered radical breakthroughs. Signed seventy-six years
plus one day after the Bolshevik decree that abolished private ownership of
land, the October 27, 1993, presidential decree, “On the Regulation of Land
Relations and Development of Agrarian Reform,” annulled the moratorium on
the sale of land and specified procedures for the registration of private
ownership of land and the issuance of land deeds. The decree gave
collective farmers the right to use their land shares however they chose
without the approval of their fellow-shareholders.

The March 7, 1996, decree, “On Realization of the Constitutional Rights of
Citizens Concerning Land,” gave the peasants complete freedom to dispose of
their land shares. Their shares could be sold, exchanged, bequeathed,
leased, and given away. The procedures for leaving the collective farm were
simplified, and local authorities and collective farm chairmen were ordered
to complete the issuance of deeds. A year later, the May 16, 1997,
presidential decree allowed industrial enterprises to privatize the land on
which they were located. [4]

By 1998 three-quarters of the Russian population owned a piece of land, no
matter how small. Twenty-two million urban families became legal owners of
garden and dacha (country house) plots.[5] In the countryside 90 percent of
the former collective farms became joint-stock companies or cooperatives.
Some 345 million acres of state-owned agricultural land (63 percent of the
total) became the private property of individuals or the joint-stock
companies, in which 12 million members of former collective farms held
shares.[6] In addition, 16 million rural families held the deeds for
household (*priusadebnye*) plots, on which they grew food for personal
consumption and produced most of Russia’s vegetables and fruit for sale.
Private farms numbered 270,000. Relative to the size of the land owned by
the state before 1990, Russia redistributed much more land than Mexico or
Venezuela did—the countries whose land reform has been considered among the
most successful.[7]

*The Civil and Land Codes*

The 1990-1997 reforms denationalized most of Russia’s urban and arable
land. In the cities the presidential decrees gave privatized industrial
enterprises the right to own the land under their plants and factories and
endowed millions of city residents with deeds to their beloved dacha plots.
In the countryside, as mentioned, collective farms were transformed into
joint-stock companies from which the peasants could leave with their share
of land and property.

Yet without detailed federal laws approved by the national parliament, the
land, though denationalized, had not become bona fide private and thus an
integral part of the fledgling market economy. Many Soviet laws remained on
the books. Absent was even the memory of private ownership of land, which
was so instrumental in the successful privatization of land in most
post-Communist nations of Central and Eastern Europe. (Land there had been
privatized not by equal distribution, but by restitution to former owners
or their heirs.)

As usual, the gray legal area was filled with local improvizations about
interpretation and implementation of Yeltsin’s decrees on ownership for
commercial and residential purposes. Thus, the privatization of land
belonging to industrial enterprises and firms in the cities proceeded apace
in St. Petersburg, Novgorod, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Tver’. At the same time
the politically well-connected Moscow city authorities succeeded in
exempting the capital from the privatization decrees and in making the city
itself the owner of all land within the city’s boundaries. That land could
be leased (for up to forty-nine years) but not owned by private businesses.
In most other Russian cities myriad bureaucratic regulations entangled land
privatization. As a result only 3 percent of Russian private industrial
enterprises owned the land under their plants.[8]

The situation with the arable land was similar. Some 12 million former
collective farmers nominally held shares of land and equipment in the
abolished kolkhozy and sovkhozy, and any private individual or commercial
enterprise could receive land from local authorities (provided the buyer
pledged to use it for agricultural purposes). But after the initial rush,
when 270,000 private farms had been set up (most by migrants from cities or
city commercial firms), the private farm movement came to a virtual
standstill. There were serious economic obstacles: a weak banking sector,
difficulties in obtaining loans, and the peasants’ de facto inability to
use land as collateral (a presidential decree notwithstanding). But, most
important, family farming had been dead for four generations, while the
memory of the kulaks’ fate was very much alive. Few Russians were willing
to risk their families’ future without strong legal guarantees in the form
of federal laws.

Federal legislation was urgently needed to provide the legal wherewithal
for making denationalized land fully private and for making privatization
irreversible. Not surprisingly, the most ferocious and intractable
political battle over the privatization of land was joined over compendiums
of laws collected in the civil and land codes.

Affirming the right to private ownership of land, article 36 of the
constitution stipulates that rules and regulations governing the use of
land are to be further elaborated by federal laws. Submitted to the Duma by
the government in June 1994, chapter 17 of the civil code was to provide
such laws. Yet the very title of the chapter, “The Right of Land Ownership
and Other Real Estate Rights,” all but doomed the section of the civil code
in a parliament dominated by the hard-line Left. The leftist deputies
succeeded in deleting the words *private property* from all but one
article, where the mention survived only as a quote from the constitution.
The code was about to be voted down. Confronted with a choice of no
post-Soviet civil code at all or a civil code without the land chapter, the
Kremlin retreated and agreed to suspend the enactment of chapter 17

The stakes were higher still in the fight over the land code, without which
the reform’s legal framework remained “fragile and ambiguous” and private
property rights had little protection.[9] In June 1997 the Duma passed a
code that prohibited the purchase and sale of agricultural land and banned
foreign ownership. Yeltsin quickly vetoed the bill and added that “I have
said and I will never get tired of repeating: land in Russia should be
bought and sold. This is how it is in the entire civilized world. It should
be the property of the peasantry, and they themselves should decide what to
do with it.”[10]

Two months later the Duma overrode the veto. Citing “flagrant procedural
violations,” especially absentee voting, and calling the code “the most
reactionary measure ever passed by the Russian parliament,”.[11] Yeltsin
refused to sign the code into law and appealed to the Constitutional Court.
A reconciliation commission was established to work out a compromise
version of the code. Yet in February 1998, after the Federation Council
upheld the presidential veto, Yeltsin again declared that he would not sign
a code that did not permit private ownership of land or land sales. The
Kremlin forwarded two dozen corrections to the compromise version. The Duma
rejected most of them and passed yet another version of the bill that
banned the sales.

Having battled each other to a standstill, and with the financial crisis of
summer-fall 1998 looming, both sides abandoned the land code fight for the
remaining year and a half of the Yeltsin presidency.

In the middle of the national political stalemate, history was made in a
small town of Balakovo in Saratov province. In the first week of March
1998, amid heckling by Communist protesters, Russia’s first land auction in
eighty years was held in a local cinema. In two hours twenty plots of
state-owned urban and farm land were sold for what was then a huge sum of
money—486,000 rubles, or $80,000. The haul was five times larger than the
amount organizers had anticipated.[12]

The auction took place five months after the regional legislature, spurred
by Governor Dmitry Ayatskov, passed a law allowing the selling and buying
of land. The Duma passed a resolution condemning Ayatskov. Yeltsin awarded
him the Order for Services to the Fatherland. Since then, seventeen regions
have followed Saratov in allowing the sale of agricultural land.

*The Second Attempt*

Although failing in the ultimate goal of privatizing Russia’s land, the
panoply of laws created in the first decade laid a foundation for a final
legislative breakthrough, which had to await a change in the balance of
political power. As with other key liberal reforms, the moment arrived
after the December 1999 parliamentary election, which shifted the
legislative plurality to the Center-Right after eight years of dominance by
the Left. The momentum became stronger still after the election of
Yeltsin’s handpicked successor, Vladimir Putin, three months later.

Although the Communists continued to command the allegiance of one-fourth
to one-third of the Russian electorate and their faction was still the
largest, they no longer had a plurality in the third Duma. Together with
its rural allies, the Agro-Industrial group, or the Agrarians, the
opposition Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) had 131 seats
in the 450-strong lower house (Federal Assembly), compared with 140 for the
pro-government Unity allied with the People’s Deputy faction. This alliance
plus four liberal or pro-presidential parties—Fatherland-All Russia (OVR)
with 37 seats; the Union of Right Forces (SPS), 32; the Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia (LDPR), 21; and Yabloko, 16—held a majority of 246 seats.
For the first time in post-Communist Russia’s nine-year history, the
parliament had a stable pro-Kremlin and pro-reform majority.

In January 2001 the government brought to the Duma floor an updated version
of chapter 17 of the civil code. Its opening article declared that
“individuals having in their possession a plot of land have the right to
sell, gift, mortgage, and lease it or dispose of it in any way they
wish.”[13] Many experts saw the code’s main achievement as precisely this
“absolute and unconditional acceptance of the right of individuals and
private entities to own land.”[14]

But unlike the 1991-1997 presidential decrees, the code went well beyond
declarations. Its purpose, amply fulfilled, was to provide a detailed and
practical guidance to commercial land transactions.[15] With the
agricultural land excluded to facilitate passage in the Duma, the code’s
twenty-eight articles described ownership rights of private citizens,
corporations, municipalities, and the federal state. The document set forth
norms and rules for relations between landowners on the one hand and all
other legal entities, including the state, on the other.[16]

The code clarified a number of previously ambiguous areas of the real
estate law, including the property rights to the land under purchased
buildings. Article 273 stated that the transfer of property rights to such
structures automatically presupposed the transfer of land ownership. Other
articles established mechanisms for the purchase of land by city
authorities and the norms governing the relationship between cities as
landowners and private owners of buildings. In all such transactions the
code granted private citizens the same rights as it did municipal

In the words of Pavel Krasheninnikov, one of the code’s authors and
legislative sponsors and the chairman of the Duma’s Legislative Committee,
an updated chapter 17 provided a “legal foundation for and defense of the
right to own land both for private citizens and legal entities.”[17] The
law’s enactment would “stimulate not only the economy of Russia but the
also the emergence of a civilized, lawful state in our country.”[18]

Although agricultural land was excluded, the Left opposition was every bit
as determined as in 1994. In the first reading, on January 25, the
legislation cleared the Federal Assembly by three votes and the upper
chamber (the Council of the Federation) by one vote. After the passage of
the bill, the Communist-Agrarian faction walked out of the chamber in

*The Land Code.* Stating that it was “time for Russia to review a blanket
ban on land sales,”[20] President Putin gave strong support to land reform
in his first annual state-of-Russia address to the Duma on April 3, 2001.
He endorsed a new land code and called for “not impeding the development of
land market” and for “formalizing the most modern forms and methods of
regulation of land relations.”[21]

Public opinion was sharply divided: at the end of March 2001, 48 percent of
Russians supported buying and selling agricultural land with or without
restrictions, and 45 percent thought that such transactions ought to be
banned (as with other liberal reforms, age and education were the variables
most responsible for the difference in attitudes).[22] As is his wont,
Putin proceeded cautiously. At a Kremlin meeting, he promised the Communist
and Agrarian leaders to exclude agricultural land from the code. The
promise was given, in the words of an unnamed Kremlin official, so as “not
to stir up public opinion.”[23]

At the same time Putin instructed the government to draft a federal law on
the sale of agricultural land and to submit it to the Duma this summer. The
president also suggested letting the regions “decide for themselves when
they can start selling and buying agricultural land.”[24] Putin’s chief
economic adviser Andrei Illarionov dismissed the exemption of agricultural
land from sale as a mere “temporary compromise.”[25]

Describing the essence of the land code, Krasheninnikov said to the author
of this essay in Moscow in May 2001 that the document “develops chapter
17.”[26] Indeed, in the code’s nineteen chapters and 106 articles, land is
a commodity. The document defines different categories of nonagricultural
land—for instance, forests, water-covered, industrial,
transportation-zoned, environmentally protected, reserved for state
purposes or withdrawn from market (museums, national parks, endangered
species habitats, or access to coastal strips)—and provides rules for their
custody or sale.

The code greatly simplifies the privatization of land. Deadlines are
established for the examination of privatization applications by local
authorities. The latter cannot refuse to sell land to private individuals
or corporations unless the land was specifically designated by federal law
as withdrawn from the market or reserved for municipal needs.[27] The code
provides safeguards for private owners at all stages of a transaction:
acquisition, use, or buy-back by the authorities for public needs.

There are no limits on the amount of land that individuals or corporations
can own and no restrictions on foreign ownership. Reinforcing the civil
code, the land code views a building and the land on which it stands as a
single real estate entity. Industrial enterprises, which together with
roads occupy almost 43 million acres, can choose whether to buy the land on
which they are located or to continue to rent it from local municipalities.
In accordance with Putin’s plan, the code omits agricultural land, yet the
document contains no ban on buying or selling such real estate.

Given potential state and local revenues from taxation or direct sales, the
economic stakes are huge. Last year the Saratov region received over 300
million rubles, or $11.5 million,[28] from land sales and taxes. “We are
paupers,” wrote Russian experts, “largely because our main wealth, land, is
not appraised, and normal land taxes are not being paid.”[29]

According to Krasheninnikov, in the year 2000 more than 1 million land
transactions had taken place in Russia.[30] The absence of legislation had
forced those land sales into the shadow economy, where the land market
existed for years and included some of the most fertile arable land.[31] A
report prepared by the Moscow State Legal Academy pointed to the existence
of “an illegal, criminal turnover of land” and the “enormous
criminalization” of the real estate market.[32] In all, the new code covers
industrial and municipal land worth an estimated $1 trillion—the sum more
than three times larger than the country’s officially recorded GDP.[33] (At
least 40 percent of the Russian economy is in the gray and black areas.)

*The Opposition*

The exclusion of agricultural land from the land code did not deceive the
Left. What mattered was the principle: for the first time the
constitutional right to private ownership of land was to be backed by the
Russian parliament and endowed with enabling legislation. Once private
ownership and residential and industrial real estate became the object of
commercial transactions, in time—perhaps a short time—agricultural land
would follow suit. As the leader of the Agrarians, Nikolai Kharitonov, put
it, “The problem is that the draft opens a door, gives a loophole that
could be widened later.”[34]

In the Left’s opposition to the bill, ideology blended with powerful
political imperatives. The Communists’ lobbying and political blackmail had
extracted trillions of rubles—amounting to 2-3 percent of the Russian GDP
annually over the past ten years— in “loans” and outright grants to
bankrupt collective agriculture. As with industrial subsidies, most of the
money never reached the peasants but was stolen along the way by local
authorities and collective farm management.

In turn the collective farms’ “red chairmen,” who lorded over their
villages because of their complete control of the meager but vital
resources on which the daily subsistence of the villagers depends
(tractors, granaries, schools, fuel, wood for heating and cooking, pastures
for cows and sheep), spared no effort to ensure that the peasants voted the
“right,” that is, Left, way. Next to the rapidly dwindling cohort of World
War II veterans, no other segment provided as reliable a political base for
the Communists as the collective farm villages, many of them impoverished,
mired in alcoholism, and populated largely by older men and women.

In the words of a leader of the centrist Fatherland-All Russia faction in
the Duma, unprivatized land is the KPRF’s “last ideological bastion: if it
falls, [the Communist Party] simply will have nothing to say to the
people.”[35] The leader of the liberal Yabloko faction, Grigory Yavlinsky,
attributed the Communists’ resistance to the “fear of losing the votes of
the downtrodden peasants” and predicted that after the code’s
implementation the Agrarian faction in the next Duma would no longer be
Communist in its orientation.[36]

For the first time since Putin’s election in March 2000, the Communists
began attacking the government and even the popular president. In the
months leading to the Duma vote, the Left loosed a rhetorical barrage
unequalled in hysteria and crudity since the castigation of Yeltsin during
the 1996 presidential campaign. Adopting the land code would be “a crime
against the nation,” the Communist Party (KPRF) chairman, Gennady Zyuganov,
charged after the debate on the code began in the Duma. “It would be war.”

After Putin endorsed land reform in the state-of-Russia address, the
Communists accused the president of pushing Russia further into poverty and
demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. In early May
the KPRF led a protest march in Moscow and called for a “struggle against
the anti-people regime of President Putin.”[38] Three weeks later, with the
Duma vote looming, Zyuganov said in a radio interview that “[the former
acting prime minister Egor] Gaidar’s people were there [writing the code]
and I suspect there were some CIA people, and they built into the code some
articles whereby the whole country can be sold out. If this code is adopted
the country will go under.”[39]

A week later Zyuganov called on his party to “wage an all-out offensive”
against the Kremlin, which had “camouflaged” its “devastating liberal
approach” and “anti-people essence.” [40] On the same day the leader of the
Agrarian faction of the Duma, Nikolai Kharitonov, announced that the
faction’s deputies might resign from the parliament if the code passed.[41]
At a press conference on the eve of the vote, Zyuganov warned of a civil
war the moment a foreign owner stepped onto Russia’s black-earth soil.[42]

*The Vote.* On June 15, the day of the vote, leftist demonstrators
surrounded the Duma and temporarily blocked traffic along Okhotny Ryad
Street, a few hundred yards from Red Square. The protestors held a
streetwide banner reading “We won’t allow trading in Russian land” and
signs of “No to private property.” Red flags were waved and cries of “Putin
traitor!” and “Shame! Shame!” were heard. Addressing the crowd, Zyuganov
called for civil disobedience, including the blocking of the country’s
roads, if the bill passed.[43]

Inside, the Communist and Agrarian deputies—clenched fists in the air and
the banner reading “Selling land means selling Russia” aloft—blocked access
to the rostrum to prevent the minister of trade and economic development,
German Gref, from introducing the legislation. Unable to restore order,
Speaker Gennady Seleznyov, a Communist, called for a break in the

Shielded by pro-reform deputies, who formed a protective circle around him,
Gref spoke from the floor through a hand-held microphone, while the
chanting Communists and Agrarians attempted to drown out his speech. In the
end the leftists marched out of the chamber. The code passed by a 251-22
vote. The legislation’s passage in the third and final reading in July was

Following the June 15 vote, a statement by Zyuganov charged that “all
Russia is being put for shameful bargaining, in which foreigners, stateless
people [the code words for Jews] and anyone with a fat purse can take part.
We will not allow mercenaries and unscrupulous oligarchs to be the
proprietors of our land.”[44] An ardent supporter of the reform and
chairman of the Peasant’s Party of Russia, Yuri Chernichenko—who began
advocating land privatization at the dawn of Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost
in 1987—described the fight over the code as the Communists’ “last real
battle in Russia. Today they felt quite vividly for the first time that
land is literally slipping from under their feet.”[45]

*Toward a Different Country*

In April 2001, as Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov urged the Duma to
pass a package of reform bills—judicial, land, pension, tax, labor
relations—he promised that their adoption and implementation would make
Russia “a different country—more advanced, free-market and democratic.”[46]
Thanking the parliament the day after the land code passed, Kasyanov called
the vote “one more serious brick in the economic foundation” of a new

For the past ten years post-Communist Russia has been engaged in an epic
struggle to turn 89 million acres of urban and industrial land and 548
million acres of agricultural land into market commodities capable of
enriching millions of Russians, boosting state and local revenues, securing
urban renewal and new housing, and providing the country with an abundance
of food. The road has been rocky and will still be lengthy. The adoption of
chapter 17 of the civil code and of the land code—to recall Churchill’s
famous phrase—is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. Yet
it may well prove to be the end of a long and painful beginning.


1. Richard Pipes, *The Russian Revolution* (New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
1990), p. 494.

2. Alexander Yakovlev, *Omut pamyati* (The maelstrom of memory) (Moscow:
Vagrius, 2001), p. 396.

3. A. Sizov, “Sverim tsifry” (Let’s compare the numbers), *Kommunist* 15
(October 1989): 63.

4. Stephen K. Wergen and Valdimir Belen’kiy, “The Political Economy of the
Russian Land Market,” *Problems of Post-Communism,* July-August 1998, p. 59.

5. Vasily Uzun, “Agrarian Reform in Russia in the 1990s: Objectives,
Mechanisms, and Problems.” In L. Alexander Norsworthy, ed., *Russian Views
of the Transition in the Rural Sector* (Washington: World Bank, 2000), p.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid., and Wergen and Belen’kiy, “Political Economy,” p. 65.

8. Andrei Lazareveskiy, “Nes’edobniy buterbrod”(The inedible
sandwich), *Ekspert
15 *(April 16, 2001). Accessed at www.expert.ru on April 16, 2001.

9. Zvi Lerman and Karen Brooks, “Russia’s Legal Framework for Land Reform
and Farm Restructuring,” *Problems of Post-Communism,* November-December
1996, p. 58.

10. *Rossiyskaya Gazeta, *September 20, 1997, p. 1.

11. “Yeltsin Criticizes Duma’s Stance,” *RFE/RL Newsline,* September 30,

12. Bronwyn McLaren, “Russia Holds First Sale of Private Land,” *Moscow
Times*, March 6, 1998, p. 2.

13. *Grazhdanskiy Kodeks Rossiyskoy Federatsii, Glava 17: Pravo
sobstvennosti i drugie veshchnye prava na zemlyu* (The Civil Code of the
Russian Federation, Chapter 17: The right of land ownership and other real
estate rights on land). In Pavel Krasheninnikov, *Pravo sobstvennosti i
inye veshchnye prava na zemlyu. Vvodnyi commentariy k glave 17
Grazhdanskogo Kodeksa RF* (The right of ownership and other real estate
rights. An introduction to chapter 17 of the Civil Code of the Russian
Federation) (Moscow: Statut, 2001), p. 10.

14. Yegor Chegrinetz, “Land and the law: Chapter 17 on the statute
book,” *Russian
Property Online, *May 3, 2001. Accessed at www.rupron.com/static on June
20, 2001.

15. Pavel Krasheninnikov, interview with the author, Moscow, May 31, 2001.

16. Chegrinetz, “Land and the Law.”

17. Krasheninnikov, *Pravo sobstvennosti, *p. 4.

18. Ibid., p. 9.

19. Two months later, in the second and third, final, reading, the
legislation was passed by the lower house with solid majorities of 254 to
121 and 252 to 123, respectively.

20. “Putin Backs Russian Land Reform,” *Washington Post,* January 31, 2001,
p. A16.

21. Vladimir Putin, “President Putin’s Address to the Federal Assembly,”
April 3, 2001, Federal News Service, Inc., p. 7. Accessed at
www.nexis.com/research/search on June 1, 2001.

22. “Svobodnaya kuplya-prodazha: za i protiv” (Freedom of buying and
selling: for and against) and “Vopros o zemle” (The land question) (Moscow:
Public Opinion Foundation), March 29, 2001. Accessed at www.fom.ru on April
10, 2001. In the eighteen-to-thirty-five-year-old group, 63 percent were
for buying and selling land with or without restrictions while 28 percent
supported the ban on all such transactions. For those older than fifty, the
corresponding figures were almost exactly the opposite: 32 percent and 59
percent. Of college graduates 68 percent approved of the buying and selling
and 27 percent were for the ban. Among those with less than high school
education, the respective numbers were 24 percent and 66 percent.

23. “Russia: Official Says Land Use Decisions May Be Given to Regions,”
ITAR-TASS, January 30, 2001. Accessed at wnc.fedworld.gov/cgi-bin on April
11, 2001.

24. Putin, “Address,” p. 8.

25. Peter Baker, “Critic’s Voice Adds Clout to Putin’s Reform Plans,”
Post,* May 10, 2001, p. A27.

26. Krasheninnikov, interview with the author.

27. Anatoly Epshtein, “Good and Bad in the New Code,” *Russian Property
Online, *June 6, 2001. Accessed at www.rupron.com/static on June 20, 2001.

28. Nikolay Vladimirov, “Vyrashchivayte krokodilov!” (Raise
crocodiles!”), *Moskovskie
Novosti,* February 13-19, 2001, p. 11.

29. Vyacheslav Nikonov and Viktoria Abramenko, “Land and Freedom We Have
Checked, Russia Does Have Money!” *Trud,* March 2, 2001, p. 2.

30. Krasheninnikov, interview with the author.

31. See, for example, Valeriy Konovalov, “Zemlya neulovimaya” (The elusive
land), *Izvestia,* February 22, 2001, p. 6. The article reveals the
existence of an illegal land market in the black-soil Stavropol region.

32. Yevgenia Borisova, “Kremlin’s Land Code Goes before Duma,” *St.
Petersburg Times, *June 15, 2001. Accessed at www.nexis.com/research/search
on June 18, 2001.

33. Anna Raff, “Kasyanov Promises a ‘Different Country,’” *Moscow Times,*
April 27, 2001. Accessed at www.nexis.com/research/search on April 27, 2001.

34. Borisova, “Kremlin’s Land Code.”

35. Ivan Rodin, “Duma oboshlas’ bez kommunistov” (The Duma managed without
the Communists), *Nezvisimaya Gazeta, *June 16, 2001. Accessed at
www.ng.ru/printed/politics on June 18, 2001.

36. Ibid.

37. Yevgeniya Borisova, “Putin Asks Council for Hand with Land Code,” *Moscow
Times*, January 31, 2001. Accessed at www.nexis.com/research/search on
January 31, 2001.

38. *RFE/RL Newsline,* May 10, 2001, p. 2.

39. Gennady Zyuganov, interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station on May
23, 2001. Federal News Service Inc. The transcript was accessed at
www.nexis.com/research/search on June 6, 2001.

40. *RFE/RL Newsline,* June 7, 2001, p. 3.

41. Ibid.

42. “Russian Communists in the Last-Ditch Attempt to Keep Land Sales off
Agenda,” NTV International, June 15, 2001, BBC Worldwide Monitoring.
Accessed at www.nexis.com/research/search on June 18, 2001.

43. “Red Flags Fly As Russian Deputies Discuss Land Bill,” Agence France
Presse, June 15, 2001. Accessed at www.nexis.com/research/search on June
18, 2001.

44. “Fists Fly as Russian Lawmakers Approve Limited Sales of Land,”
Times,* June 16, 2001, p. A3.

45. Robyn Dixon, “Capitalist Heads Prevail in Russia,” *Los Angeles Times,*
June 16, 2001, p. A3.

46. Raff, “Kasyanov Promises.”

47. “Mikhail Kasyanov Thanked Deputies for Giving First Reading to Land
Code,” Ria Oreanda, June 16, 2001. Accessed at
www.nexis.com.research/search on June 18, 2001.

*Leon Aron is a resident scholar and the director of Russian studies at

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