Who has an interest in the moratorium on land sales?
The decision by the Verkhovna Rada to extend the moratorium on sales of land has aroused serious debate as to who such a moratorium suits: dealers who will earn extra profit via dodgy arrangements, foreign companies or, in fact, rural people themselves.
Land issues specialist, Viktor Kobylyansky told the BBC that until 18 January 2001 when there was no moratorium, no more than 1 percent of land shares (received when the kolkhozes were dissolved – translator] had been sold. He, therefore, considers that this did not lead to any social tension, deception of rural people or the emergency of huge landowners of whom there were anyway and without the moratorium a huge number.
Mr Kobylansky points out that it is virtually impossible for foreign companies to buy up land for a song since articles of the Land Code directly prohibit them, as well as foreign legal entities and stateless persons, from owning agricultural land. However, if we are talking about lease of land, he notes that this is already working.
At the same time, representative of “Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence”, Oles Doniy is convinced that it is specifically the extension of the moratorium which continues a rapacious policy of creating huge land holdings via long-term land leasing. He believes that land oligarchs are now getting land for peanuts on long-term lease, and will then, when the moratorium ends, make it their own.
Member of the Party of the Regions, Mykola Prysyazhnyuk has several reasons to cite as to why the moratorium is needed. He considers that in the present chaos in Ukrainian politics, it is impossible to make the land market free. Furthermore, sales can be introduced following the adoption of laws on a land cadastre and land market. Such laws are not as yet in the Verkhovna Rada.
There has been a moratorium on land since 2002,which has been repeatedly extended. However some experts fear that in 2012 when the moratorium is to go that it could transpire that there is nothing to sell since nobody has abolished the shadow market.