RIA Novosti: Russia Publishes Draft Law Restricting Foreign Land Ownership – Paper

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia has published a draft law that will bar foreigners from owning or renting land in the country without official permission, a Russian newspaper reported Wednesday.

The publication of the document follows reported consultation between government ministries, security services and migration agencies. Experts have warned the move could affect the country’s investment climate.

According to the draft bill, any non-Russian citizen or a company under foreign ownership would have to receive official permission before buying Russian real estate or land, Kommersant newspaper said.

Foreigners are currently entitled to buy land on similar terms to Russians. They are forbidden, however, from owning agricultural land, and land in border zones, sea ports, infrastructure hubs and military sites.

The legislation under discussion has reportedly been designed to prevent the emergence of ethnic ghettoes, which top officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have said Russia must not allow.

Experts warn that restrictions on land purchases by foreigners in Russia could introduce an extra layer of bureaucracy that would deter investors, and worsen Russia’s already weak investment climate.