Russia To Expand Free Land Scheme To The Entire Arctic

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  • Arctic Urbanization as Global Warming Makes Territory Usable
  • Free Hectare Of Land With Free Trade & Tax Incentives 

Op/Ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis 

The “Far Eastern Hectare” free land scheme in Russia is to be extended to the entire Arctic region, according to officials at the Project Office for the Development of the Arctic (PORA).

The bill to allow this is currently going through the legislative process and is with the State Duma, following the success of the scheme in the Russian Far East.

If passed, the scheme will be delivered in stages, with residents able to apply for a free hectare of land in the Arctic region, including Novaya Zemlya. The entire Arctic was declared as a gigantic Free Trade Zone just last year, with significant tax reductions on offer to assist with settlement.

A total of 2.5 million people live in the Arctic zone of Russia, of which 90% live in relatively large cities – Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, and Norilsk. Land around these cities will be in demand.

Murmansk has already been designated as the Arctic capital city and is positioning itself as a commercial and tourism centre. Arkhangelsk is developing its White Sea Port facilities to become a Yacht Marina for summer seasonal sailors, while Norilsk is an industrial mining city.

According to the bill, the proposed land rules are structured in a manner that applicants will be able to apply for a free plot of land of up to 1 hectare for a period of five years, after which it will be possible to convert it into ownership or long-term lease. Land can be used for the construction of a residential buildings or any economic activity – from the creation of a private farm to the provision of tourist services.

For the first six months, only local residents will be able to apply, after which all Russian residents and participants in the state program for the resettlement of compatriots will be able to make applications. At the same time, special attention will be paid to preserving the traditions and culture of the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East, according to PORA.

The program will operate in all seven regions of the Russian Arctic, including the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

 

PORA meanwhile have adopted a State program for the development of the Arctic, within which it is planned to spend about 15 billion Rubles (US$200 million) over the coming four years on measures designed to ensure the sustainable development of the region, create new jobs, and increase the income level of residents of the northern territories .

The original law was developed by the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East at the end of last year, to assist inhabitants of the Far East region to receive free land for the implementation of their own projects and for agricultural use.

The Russian Arctic is being developed both along the Northern Russian coastline as the Northern Sea Passage begins to open to shipping. The region is also home to significant gas and other mineral deposits including Diamonds and Gold and offers agricultural opportunities in the inland regions. Regional railway lines, ports and airports are being upgraded, planned, and built as the Arctic region becomes more viable for exploitation.

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Russia Briefing is written by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Eurasia, including China, Russia, India, and the ASEAN nations, assisting foreign investors into the Eurasian region. Please contact Maria Kotova at russia@dezshira.com for Russian investment advisory or assistance with market intelligence, legal, tax and compliance issues throughout Asia.

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