Russia gives away first free land in Far East

© Alexander Liskin
The first three families in Russia's Amur region have received their free hectares of land under the program aiming to develop the country's Far East. The region’s Arkharinsky district, which borders China, was chosen as the pilot area for the initiative.

"The first three applications were received from residents in the area, which for many years engaged in beekeeping. District authorities have already approved the layout of the land, and property boundaries have been registered," a spokesperson for the local property authorities told Interfax.

Another two applications are being processed; one of them is a collective application from three families also involved in beekeeping.

The Arkharinsky district is located at the junction of the border with China and with Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region. The district is crossed by the Trans-Siberian railroad and the Chita-Khabarovsk federal highway.

The area has 50,000 hectares of agricultural land and 500,000 hectares of forest.

The governor of Yakutia, another region included in the program, announced that in addition to the hectare of land offered by the state, his region will provide another 2.5 hectares to anyone interested. Yakutia is known for its severe climate and the coldest temperatures recorded in the Northern Hemisphere at −71.2 °C (−96.2 °F) in 1926.

In April, the Russian State Duma adopted a law allowing Russians the right to claim a free hectare (10,000 square meters) of land in the Far East. The areas include Yakutia, Kamchatka, Chukotka, Primorye, Khabarovsk, Amur, Magadan, Sakhalin and the Jewish Autonomous Regions. The land can be used for any lawful purpose and the new owners cannot rent, sell, or give away the land for five years.

1- Amur Region, 2 - Jewish Autonomous Region, 3 - Kamchatka, 4 - Magadan Region, 5 - Primorye, 6 - Yakutia, 7 - Sakhalin Region, 8 - Khabarovsk Region, 9 - Chukotka Autonomous Region.