The regional branch of the All-Russia People’s Front (ONF) held an expert meeting to discuss a proposed Bill of parliament which would legalise existing family homesteads that were built without official permission. The purpose of the round table, held at Vladimir State University, was to consider different points of view and outline ways of solving the problem. The main point of the exercise was dialogue between all parties.
Ivan Pshenitsyn, Doctor of Economics and professor of economic philosophy at the Faculty of Economics of Moscow State University, said, “Science has a great debt to this movement, which originated from below. Family homestead settlements are trying to revive a way of life where the main value is the human being. Before such a phenomenon our science lies in very big debt… We are reviving what made Russia great.”
The issue of “family homesteads” is particularly important at the moment. The meeting was attended by experts from leading national universities, representatives of state authorities and residents of settlements from the whole region. In the settlements there is no official registration, and consequently there is no admission to schools or hospitals. In the Vladimir region alone there are about two hundred and fifty homestead plots where hundreds of people live, many of them children.
At present it is not permitted to erect any buildings on agriculturally significant land except sheds or storerooms. Everything else is considered self-construction, which is not allowed. According to ONF representatives, settlers are already reviving abandoned villages in the Vladimir region, building new roads and connecting electricity. In the future this should help maintain population growth in rural areas.
In June, 2018, the government introduced a Bill to the State Duma that protects the right for citizens to undertake these activities, making appropriate amendments to the Land Code and other Acts. Up to this point it has been technically illegal to construct housing on agricultural land, and therefore conflicts arise from time to time between authorities and these people who decide to live in the lap of nature.
Dmitry Zhuchenko, member of the regional ONF group, said, “Some people think we should adopt a special law on family homesteads so that these issues can be settled. Others believe it’s enough simply to introduce the concept of the ‘Family Homestead’ into the current Land Code. Still others believe it’s possible to proceed as farmers, and thus that the Bill already introduced to the Duma, and which apparently will be adopted, can effectively solve the issue of legal land ownership.”
Source – GTRK Vladimir http://vladtv.ru/society/94868/
First published in Russian on 2 August 2018