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Short story of Ukraine's eternal "temporary moratorium" on sale of land

Author : Pavlo Rizanenko

Since 1992, Ukraine’s parliament has voted 12 times for a "temporary moratorium" on the sale of agricultural land
14:45, 21 January 2019

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In March 1992, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada of the 1st convocation adopted the Land Code. Then the Verkhovna Rada was dominated by the Communists and the so-called “red directors” (Soviet elites like the directors of big enterprises, - ed.) including those who headed the state farms. Their condition for the adoption of the code with the introduction of private ownership of land was paralleled with the requirement to impose an appropriate moratorium for 6 years.

This was implemented in the first 1992 Land Code. In the late 1990s, land reform accelerated by distributing state farm / collective farmland among the workers and retirees of these enterprises. After six years stipulated by the code, this land began was bought and sold freely.

 

Related: Ukraine’s parliament unblocks signing of law on extension of land sale moratorium

The purchase volumes were actually insignificant, but the “red directors” of state farms / collective farms became alarmed, because now, in one place or another, someone could buy 10-20 parcels. In 2001, they again lobbied for the introduction of a "temporary" moratorium for a year, and then for four years.

At the end of 2004, when the 4-year moratorium expired, the parliament has extended it for two years.

At the end of 2006, the Verkhovna Rada of the 5th convocation, "temporarily" extended the moratorium for one year again. This time, 354 deputies voted for the moratorium.

Related: Ukraine’s parliament extends moratorium on sale of land for another year

In 2008, the parliament of the 6th convocation has introduced the norm that the moratorium ends with the entry into force of two laws – on the land cadastre and on the land market. The decision was taken by 226 votes.

In early 2010, on the eve of the presidential election, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has extended a moratorium for one year, so the moratorium was valid not only until the adoption of the law on the land market but also by a certain date.

In 2011, it was extended for a year again.

In 2012, the story was repeated, but with the extension for 4 years. In total, it was supported by 269 MPs.

Since 2015, Parliament of the 8th convocation, have been annually voting for an extension of the moratorium for one year. Every time there was an "excuse" that "we need to develop a good bill on the land market." Four years of the same arguments from the agrarian lobby.

Related: EU urges Ukraine to lift moratorium on round tree exports

The first vote could still be explained by the fact that the majority of the deputies were new, had not yet figured out, and still wanted to delve into the issue of the land market bill.

In 2018, there was a real chance to stop these meaningless voting, which is useless, because the law on the land market is still not adopted, and the moratorium is still valid until its adoption (that the deadline has not been extended).

A very strong agrarian lobby was formed in Ukraine’s parliament of the 8th convocation (the committee includes 30 deputies, it is the 3rd largest parliamentary committee).

Taking into consideration the insiders’ information, it is obvious that the lobby of a large agrarian business is mainly interested in extending the moratorium forever (this would give them the opportunity to redistribute the economic rent in their favor at the expense of 7 million shareowners).

 

Related: Real decommunization: Why Ukraine should cancel moratorium on sale of land as soon as possible?

According to my forecasts and observations, their lobby in the next Verkhovna Rada would be even more significant. And they are working on it.

Since 1992, Ukraine’s parliament has voted 12 times for a "temporary moratorium." During this "temporary moratorium," 1.5 million owners out of 7 million have died.

Related: ECHR recognizes Ukraine's moratorium on land sale as violation of human rights

Read the original text on Facebook of Pavlo Rizanenko.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners.

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