Putin signs Russian homesteading act

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

On Monday Russia’s president Vladimir Putin signed a new law that is a variation of the American homesteading acts that helped settle the west in the 1800s.

Trutnev’s initial suggestion was to “create a mechanism for the free allocation of a 1 hectare (2.5 acres) plot of land to every resident of the Far East and to anyone who is willing to come and live in the region so that they could start a private business in farming, forestry, game hunting or some other enterprise.” He added that the agreement could be signed for five years, and then it should either enter full force if the new landlord follows the plan, or be declared void if the land is not used.

They might be doing it wrong in aerospace, but if this story is correct Putin’s government has got it right when it comes to land ownership.


  • Mitch S.

    This could be an option for those fired Vostochny managers!

  • Wayne

    Mitch S:
    Stalin just called it “exile to the wasteland.”

  • Laurie

    I was thinking of something a little more tropical…

  • Wayne

    In all seriousness however; I have to applaud any move toward increasing private property & land ownership in Russia.

    I am uninformed as to what sort of property-rights, Land Title laws, & Judicial enforcement of such, in Russia, but on the face, it sounds like a step in the right direction. (I come from a family of Land Surveyors & Civil Engineers, anything that encourages people to own their own, surveyed & Titled-land, is ok with me.)

    2.5 acres isn’t a whole lot as far as to farming, I wonder if people are allowed to aggregate bigger tracts?
    Correct me if I’m wrong–weren’t our Homestead Grants on the order of 120 acres?
    (Railroads were given 100 miles on both side of the track, but that’s a different topic entirely.)

  • The first homestead law awarded 160 acres. They later amended that to 640 for the west, where a larger plot was required to make the farm profitable.

  • Wayne

    Thanks Mr. Z.,

    I should know this stuff cold…George Washington was a Land Surveyor.
    (640 acres is a square-mile, “more-or-less,” that I do know!)
    tangential– technology has been an absolute boom to Land Surveying & Civil Engineering. Not as glamorous as Space but accurately measuring & locating square-lots, on a round Planet, presents its own difficulties.

  • Dick Eagleson

    I’ll have to echo Wayne in that a single hectare isn’t much of a homestead. My late paternal grandparents lived on a 4-acre property. Half an acre was for the house and surrounding lawns. The rest was split between a small mixed orchard that included apple, pear and black walnut trees and a vegetable garden that grew tomatoes, corn, green beans, navy beans, carrots, radishes, cabbages and probably some other things I’m forgetting. Cooking and canning most of the crops in mason jars allowed the grandfolks to “live off the land” to a considerable degree for much of any given year. They bought all their meat and dairy in stores, though. A single hectare isn’t going to make any homesteading Russian self-reliant in food. And I’m also guessing the Siberian growing season isn’t exactly comparable to that in central Ohio.

    Still, as the old saying about dancing bears (weirdly appropriate) has it, “The wonder of the thing is not that the bear dances badly, but that it dances at all.”

  • Tom Billings

    There are 3 keys to this:

    1.) The size of plots can be expanded later.

    2.) It avoids disturbing whoever still profits from the great “communes” set up during the 1930s. Those hectares still produce much of Russia’s food, even though they may not be run by a party apparatchik.

    3.) If this works well in the Far East, it may prove itself worthy of being integrated into the already existing structure of major Russian grain and meat production. At that point the political price for disturbing those of Putin’s cronies that control distribution there could drop steeply.

    So, about 100 years *after* “the communes” kicked into high gear under Stalin, they *may* finally have seen heir last effects extinguished.

  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    Two thoughts. Bring a really good winter coat. And don’t be surprised if Putin changes the rules at a moment’s notice.

  • Wayne

    I listen to transmissions from Laika the Space Dog, at http://www.thepeoplescube.com

    “Are you shovel-ready, Comrade?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *