Russia Preparing Property Restrictions for Foreigners – Paper

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 16, 2013) Russia is drafting changes to the law that will bar foreigners from owning or renting real estate in the country without official permission, a state-owned newspaper said Wednesday.

The Economic Development Ministry told Rossiiskaya Gazeta that it is in consultation about the legislation with law enforcement and migration agencies including the Federal Security Service and Federal Migration Service. The law could come into force by 2015, officials told the paper.

Under Russian law, foreigners are currently entitled to buy property and land on almost the same terms as Russians. They are forbidden, however, from owning real estate in border zones, agricultural land, land near sea ports, infrastructure hubs and military sites, according to the paper.

It was unclear Wednesday what government agency would be responsible for granting permission for foreigners to buy or rent real estate if the new law is passed.

The proposed legislation has been designed to prevent the emergence of ghettoes based on racial or ethnic lines in Russian cities, Izvestiya newspaper reported Tuesday. Senior officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, have expressed their opposition to such neighborhoods.

News of the proposed legislation comes just days after a southern Moscow suburb was hit by some of the worst riots seen in Russia in years, when a mob attacked a food market and fought running battles with riot police after a Russian man was knifed to death by a man thought by police to be foreign.

Millions of migrant workers live in Russia, most of them from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. There are high levels of hostility towards increased levels of migration in Russian society.