June 26, 2002
8:12 AM   Subscribe

Farmland for sale. $80-100 trillion. Russia's lower house of parliament on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow the sale of Russian farmland for the first time since the days of the czars, but would bar foreigners from buying it.. foreign companies could still purchase Russian land through subsidiaries that are majority Russian-owned.
posted by stbalbach (3 comments total)
i really think this could be the start of something... like instead of vladivostok being a military outpost, it could become a major pacific rim city/port over the next decade or so.

sort of akin to the homesteading of US hinterlands, the russian east is prolly as close to the 'wild frontier' as there is nowadays. like it's curiously been passed over by the last century.

i know there are really big cities in the east, but you never really hear about them except in national geographic or something and they're all like heavily polluted industrial/smelting/mining complexes with apartment blocs attached for when people go home.

hopefully 'opening it up' will help revitalize the russian economy (and maybe even help the environment! hope :) and it might also attract immigrants? like starving n.koreans, unemployed former east germans/eastern europeans, war-ravaged central asians and chinese peasants might want to make a go of it there. russia needs the population and the rest of eurasia it seems needs a 'safety-valve'.

as far as farming is concerned, i'm sure it's going to become a lot more productive. i read this article about midwestern farmers from the US leasing land in the ukraine and doing pretty well. like although it's been said there's enough food in the world (it's just not getting to the people who need it) i'm sure the world could use another 'bread basket' in the eastern hemisphere.
posted by kliuless at 9:24 AM on June 26, 2002

One thing a lot of people fail to consider is how damn BIG Russia is. 11 timezones between Kiev and Vladivostok. Four between New York and LA.

Lotta room out there. Lotta natural resources. Lotta potential. Russia, when the eventually get their act together (and that's when, not if), is going to once again be a 500-pound gorilla on the world stage.
posted by UncleFes at 9:54 AM on June 26, 2002

Russia already allows private land sales -- this bill covers the vast collective farm network. It's essential to redeveloping their food economy, but I don't think this, or much else, is going to make Russia a superpower again. They have serious problems with declining lifespan and birthrate, leading to depopulation, and at some point they'll need to solve that or begin importing a workforce. The 11-time-zone thing essentially means, in the modern world, & especially with Russia's broken transportation network, that the Far East really is more closely tied to Asia than to Moscow. That can work to their advantage, but more likely it's going to mean an increasing regional disassociation with the central government, something that hasn't been deterred by places physically much closer to the Kremlin.

This is landmark in another way, though, because it's a great signal that things are going in the right direction, with stronger rule of law that is more closely aligned with what people need to do in their lives. It's going to help their integration with the world economy (they did it for their WTO bid). In the long run this will reinforce democracy.
posted by dhartung at 4:27 PM on June 26, 2002

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