The Russian federal government has just made an intriguing decision to hand out free land to anybody who is willing to farm it.
In Russia's Far-East Federal District, the range of which goes to the Pacific Ocean, areas of land, 2.5 acres in size, will be provided to any Russian citizen that wants to work it.
“It will allow Russians, especially the youth, to discover in the Far East a real chance for self-realization,” said Aleksandr Galushka, the minister for Far East development.
The plan states that if the citizen working the land can show that they are building it up, specifically agriculturally, it's all theirs after five years.
Russia's Far East is home to about 2 individuals per square mile. The area has lost about 2 million people given that the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and is currently home to about 4% of Russia's population. Even with these numbers, the land mass still uses up nearly 1/3 of the country.
This program is similar to the Russian resettlement program, near completion of the Russian Empire, which brought some 3 million individuals to the region, though at the time 70% of the population was agrarian. Today, a lot of everybody is an urbanite. Getting individuals out of the cities and onto the farms might prove tough, but free land is free land.
“It’s a way of trying to overcome the problem that it’s extremely expensive to get people to move there, to live there, and to carry out economic activity there,” said Richard Connolly, co-director of the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK.
Now, there are just a couple of municipalities that can be acquired to farm. Come February, 2017, every piece of available vacant land in the Far East is up for grabs.
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