Russia unambiguously established private land ownership when it adopted the 2001 Land Code, which, although limited to urban and commercial land, clarifies the concept of land ownership in general and allows foreign ownership of those lands. The Land Code permits security interests in commercial and industrial land, which should further stimulate Russia's commercial real estate market, an important component of a functioning market economy. Perhaps the greatest strength of the new Land Code is its provision for foreign ownership, which allows foreign investors to conduct business according to the Western standards without being forced to engage in bribery or other violations of the U.S. Foreign Practices Corruption Act. Perhaps its greatest weakness is that it does not completely address all land issues in Russia; for example, it does not address the issue of agricultural land, it lacks a mechanism for land privatization, and it appears to contradict the current provisions of the Civil Code on the sale and permanent use of land. Russia urgently needs clarification of who owns what land and how it can be sold and bought. Nevertheless, while the Land Code is not a comprehensive reference guide for a foreign investor on how to purchase land, it eliminates the previous inequality between foreign and domestic land purchasers and provides foreign purchases with the security of title.
Evolution of Land Reform in Russia: The 2001 Land Code and Its Impact on the Commercial Real Estate Market and Direct Foreign Investment,
11 Pac. Rim L & Pol'y J.
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