УДК 332.2


Липски Станислав Анджеевич
Государственный университет по землеустройству
доктор экономических наук, доцент

В современной России рыночный оборот земель сельскохозяйственного назначения стал распространенным явлением. Для личных подсобных хозяйств это свойственно практически с начала земельной реформы 90-х годов. Для крупных сельскохозяйственных организаций, где приватизация состоялась тоже в начале 90-х, формирование рынка произошло позднее. В статье выделены несколько сегментов современного земельного рынка. Для этого рассмотрены особенности приватизации земель и развитие рыночных отношений в этих секторах, имеющиеся проблемы и возможные пути их решения, а также соотношение в современном законодательстве понятий сельскохозяйственные угодья и земли сельскохозяйственного назначения.


Lipski Stanislav Andzheevich
State University of land use planning
doctor of economic Sciences, docent

In modern Russia the market of agricultural land has become a widespread phenomenon. For small personal subsidiary it is peculiar to almost from the beginning of the land reform of 90-ies. For large agricultural organizations, where privatization has taken place also in the early 90's, the land market was formed later. The article considers several segments of modern land market. For this the author identified: the particularly of land privatization and the development of market relations in these sectors; the existing problems and possible solutions; the correlation in modern legislation of concepts of agricultural land and agriculture-purpose lands.

Keywords: agricultural land, land plot, land share, legislation, privatization, property, turnover of land

Рубрика: Сельское хозяйство

Библиографическая ссылка на статью:
Липски С.А. About market of agricultural lands in modern Russia // Сельское, лесное и водное хозяйство. 2015. № 4 [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://agro.snauka.ru/2015/04/2260 (дата обращения: 19.11.2016).


The market of means of production is one of fundamental concepts and key institutions in society and economic functioning.In agriculture such the primary means is land. In the time of the Soviet Union, all land was under the exclusive ownership of the state. In that period the market turnover of land was impossible.

In modern Russia, the land reform in the 1990s resulted in the following. First, the monopoly of state land ownership was abolished (the legislation permitted private and municipal land ownership). Second, the land privatization took place, i.e., the existence of private land ownership was not only permitted, but it actually appeared. Third, the market turnover of land appeared (it started with agricultural land).Let us consider how market of agricultural land develops and some problems in this sphere.

Methodology and materials

The author of article collected and analysed the materials on this topic during all period of land reform in modern Russia. Author used abstract-logical, economic-statistical, formal-legal and historical methods. Also the author was using in this research the materials of official and other reports, normative acts and works of other scientists. To a certain extent, the findings and results are based on the experience of author of article (more than 20 years he was directly involved in preparing the relevant decisions and their correction).

Concepts of «agriculture-purpose lands» and «agricultural lands» in modern Russian land legislation

Agriculture-purpose lands are one of seven land categories that have existed since Soviet times (along with lands for settlements, forest and water funds, etc.). These categories reflect the target use of the corresponding lands (when the matter concerns territories that do not have clear boundaries, these lands can only have public or municipal ownership) or land plots (each plot has established boundaries; only such plot can be an object of turnover). The total area of this type of land is 386.5 mln ha (22.6% of the all land fund of Russia).All lands outside of settlements, which were allotted for agriculture as well as destined for these goals, are lands of agriculture-purpose.

However, this land category includes not only productive lands (agricultural lands), but also gullies, badlands, forests, marshes, etc. Such unproductive lands comprise half of the total area in this category (190.3 mln ha). Many authors point out the significant reduction in the total area of this land category as a negative trend in agricultural land management (see, e.g., [9, 11, 13]). In fact, this area was 685.8 mln ha as early as the mid-1960s and 639.1 mln ha by the beginning of the reforms in the 1990s. However, this not means, as one might suppose, that valuable agrarian lands were squandered. The major cause of this reduction is the transfer of the so-called rural forests to the forest fund (this was the third part of land of agriculture-purpose).

The fact of the transfer of such large areas from one category to another indicates about non-optimal system of land categories. For this reason, at present, the suggestion to abolish land categories is being actively discussed. Both adherents and opponents advance many counterarguments that are not always comparable (for example, the complexity of the development of house construction in the condition modern system of categories and the experience of Western European countries). According to the author the most probable result of the indicated discussion will become the replacement of land categories by the institution of their functional zoning. But by the highest standards, the implementation of this substitution will only result in the compensatory replacement of the federal and regional levels of making decisions about the target use of land plots by the municipal level.

Agricultural lands are those intended and directly used to grow crop products and graze agricultural cattle (196.2 mln ha). According to the Land Code of the Russian Federation these lands are specifically protected.

In addition, such agricultural lands are also part of other land categories (e.g., settlements). Their total area is over 20 mln ha. But these lands have another legal regime of use and turnover, which corresponds to their belonging to a certain category.

It is necessary to note that the long-term dynamics of the total area of agricultural lands is negative. Since 1990, this indicator has decreased by 2 mln ha. However, the major reduction fell on the pre reform 1980s, rather than the period of the land reform. In all, the total area of agricultural lands has decreased by 5.7% during the last forty years.

Therefore, it is possible that the transition from category of land to zoning of land will give positive results in respect of agricultural land. First, agricultural lands located in settlements will most likely get the same status as the remaining agriculture-purpose lands. This will give them a greater legal protection than now. Second, the conditions which agrarians agree upon for the transition to zoning, is the acceptance of so-called agricultural regulations. It is planned that these regulations will determine all rights on use of agricultural land within a corresponding zone. This is very important for the restriction rights of private landowners and for the protection of agricultural land. These regulations can indicate that it inadmissible to grow tilled crops in erosion danger zones, formulate restrictions on the construction of different objects, etc.; moreover, all of this is done in coordination with the quality of corresponding lands.

Segments of the agricultural land market in Russia today

Agriculture has two sectors: large agro-industrial (various cooperatives, utility companies, state enterprises, and farmers) and small personal subsidiary farms (households).

These sectors are not comparable on total area of lands (personal subsidiary farms uses only 2% of the total area of agricultural land). But their economic value at many kinds of agricultural products is comparable (for example, in respect of cattle, pigs and sheep).The reregistration of land plots by citizens who were granted them with the right of constant (permanent) use, as well as granted ownership of new land plots (individual privatization), became the ways to form private ownership in this sector. Now in this sector 73.8% of land is privately owned [1]. The market turnover of land plots in sector of personal subsidiary farms was formed in the mid 90-ies (in 1992 for personal subsidiary plots, garden plots and other small plots the special law was passed and since 2001 their turnover is regulated by the Land and the Civil Codes). Such turnover has not specific rules of state regulation of transactions.

For the remaining 98% lands of agriculture-purpose the legislator has established special rules of turnover. So the special law «About turnover of agricultural land» provides that:

a. Land plots remain in the sphere of agricultural production.

b. The state (or the municipality) is having priority right of to redeem agricultural land if these will be put on sale.

c. The concentration of lands at one person have limit.

d. Land plots of agriculture-purpose not may be less than the minimum size permitted by the state.

e. The lessee on expiration of the agreement shall have a preferential right to conclude the lease for a new term. Also after expiration 3 years of lease the lessee may purchase this land at market value (if it is a public ownership).

f. Owners of land plots pay fines if they will improper use of them land. If it will not give effect, then such land can be withdrawn in a judicial procedure (sale on trades).

g. Foreigners are not allowed to be land owners (only a rent) [3, 5 ,6].

These rules are universal for the entire large agro-industrial sector. But he has another 5 subsector, which differ by the nature of property relations.

Subsector 1. A large part of agricultural land since the early 90-ies is privately owned by employees of former collective and state farms (they became owners of land shares). As a result of the formation of land shares, more than 115 mln ha of agricultural lands passed into the private ownership of almost 12 mln people (61.8% of lands, which were in the use of agricultural enterprises by early 1992) However, only 1.4 mln shareowners have implemented the state registration of their rights; only 20.5 mln ha of land shares have been allotted in the form of land plots.

Thus this ownership (now it is 92.3 mln ha) is not land plots. It is land shares, which for commercial use, sale or lease should be allocated in land plots. Until 2005, the legislation allowed a variety of transactions with land shares. However, now the possibility of owners such land shares is very limited. The market turnover of lands that were transferred into common ownership (land shares) is still problematic. The former collective and state farms, who changed their status on cooperatives, etc, are using land from which were formed such shares. However, this land use is not formalized. For this agricultural companies must redeem the land shares from their owners. This process is progressing, but very slowly. So, for 2013, they bought the land shares a total area of 103 thousand ha (from 92.3 mln ha) [1].

This subsector is very problematic. Problem of land shares arose in the second half of the 1990s and has three components, which are determined by the following:

a. The lands that correspond to shares are difficult to give to other people and legal person, even when it is economically advantageous, and a potential buyer has the corresponding funds (when shares were formed, about 40% of agricultural lands were not privatized and in 90-ies market deals were made with them).

b. For 20 years almost 25% of owners of land share no actions have been taken with regard to the use of its land property (so-called unclaimed land shares). The total area of these shares comes to about 25 mln ha [13].

c. There is a persistent contradiction between the interests of land share owners (gaining some income from land shares by permitting a farm to use them with a benefit for themselves or selling them to third persons) and farms, from lands which shares were formed (continuing to use the corresponding lands at no cost or returning these lands to themselves).

The entire idea of the formation of land shares was that they were mobile, and the majority of them were to be concentrated into the hands of the most efficient new owners, who would allot land plots against them. However, this concentration of land shares on constant right did not take place. In the 1990s the lease of land shares was the most wide spread deal (46% of formed shares, moreover, since 2003, such rentals are not allowed). This was due to the uncertainty of legal problems, as well as the unattractiveness of investments in the domestic AIC in the same period (the insufficiency of measures for the state support of agriculture and its low competitiveness in comparison with imported foodstuffs). Then, the situation with legislative regulation and investments improved; however, the initially inertia that developed in the 1990s continued to influence the situation and, second, the state policy with respect to land shares was inconsequent [4].

Now we see two options for solving the problem of land shares. The first solution lies in the long-term existence of shares as a valid element of land market relations in agrarian sector (this is so-called a social variant, which is oriented more toward the interests of shareowners). The second solution is the liquidation of shares as a temporal instrument of the period of reorganizing the agricultural production (economic variant). This liquidation can be both quickly so and gradual by means of the restriction of rights by shareowners and the creation of different preferences for agricultural organizations.

The position of the state in the 1990s was unambiguously based on the social variant. After adoption of the corresponding law in 2002 the rights of shareowners were somewhat restricted, but the ideology of state remained in line with this variant. However, the situation changed in 2005, when this law was significantly amended (of the former possibilities for disposing of a share, only wills, waivers, and transfers to another owner or farm remained). The next step in this direction was created in 2010 when legislator admitted land shares which its owner not disposed of more than 3 years as unclaimed shares.

The sequence of actions of legislator: first restricted the rights to dispose of a land share (essentially, one could do nothing with the land except give it to a agricultural company) and then, five years later, the norm was adopted that enabled recognize such shares as unclaimed shares and take them to the municipal property. This allows us to suggest that since 2005 the social variant of solutions to problems of land shares has been replaced by the economic variant [7].

But the existence of several million owners of land shares not allow ignore the social consequences of this problem. Therefore, the balancing of social and economic components will probably continue.

Subsector 2. Agricultural organizations and farmers possess of land plots of agriculture-purpose with a total area of 35.1 mln ha.Such land is fully involved in the turnover (taking into account the above restrictions).This subsector is gradually expanding as a result of privatization of state and municipal lands and redemption of land shares at citizens.

The major problem in the sphere of land property was the insufficiency (in fact, the absence) of the regulation of legislative land turnover in 90-ies. This was due to the fact that after the Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted in 1993 the regulation of these problems by acts of the President (as at the initial stage of the land reform) became illegal, and the corresponding legislative acts were adopted only in the 21st century: Land Code (2001) and law «About turnover of agricultural land» (2002).

Now the market turnover of land in this sector is sufficiently developed. The main method of the turnover of these lands became the secondary market: each land plot which purchased from the state or municipality during the year, correspond to the five plots sold on the secondary market (table, used data of [1] ).

Turnover of land plots intended for agricultural production

segment of the land market





number of transactions, thousand

total area, thousand ha

number of transactions, thousand

total area, thousand ha

number of transactions, thousand

total area, thousand ha

number of transactions, thousand

total area, thousand ha

The sale of state and municipal land, total, incl.









outside settlements









in settlements









Purchase and sale between citizens and legal persons, total, incl.









outside settlements









in settlements









Subsector 3. Also private agricultural organizations and farmers possess of lands which are state or municipal property. Modern Russian system of land rights includes: 1) the old land rights, preserved since the Soviet times (permanent (unlimited) use), 2) the new rights arisen in the course of reforms, they are complying with the market land relations (private property, rentals), 3) the transitional form, characteristic of the most active periods of the land reform (lifetime inheritable possession). During 90-s this system was assumed on long-term perspective. So the Civil code (1994 – part one) does not contain any time limitations for all these rights. But the Land code (2001) stopped the granting of land by right of lifelong inherited possession and by the right of permanent (perpetual) use. Land plots provided in permanent (unlimited) use and lifetime inheritable possession may not participate in the civil turnover.

The right of permanent (perpetual) use of land, which arose before the entry into force of the Land code, is subject to re-registration. The agricultural organizations which use of such land plots must become owners or tenants. The time for legal entities has come 01.07.2012. If legal entities to shy away from such renewal, they would pay the fine of 20 to 100 thousands rubles. However, it is not clear how effective these arrangements (it is possible that them will be easier to pay the penalty) [8].

Subsector 4. The state or municipal agriculture organizations are using of this land by right of permanent (perpetual) use. Such lands are not involved in turnover. However sometimes the state withdraws such lands from these organizations (e.g., for construction), then these lands may be offered for auction.

Subsector 5. Part of the state and municipal agricultural land is a land reallocation fund. This fund is designed to expand the areas of agricultural organizations, farmers, and personal subsidiary farms. This fund is sufficiently large in area – 45.7 mln ha [1].However, most of it not suitable for agriculture, the total area of productive agricultural land is 11.6 mln ha. New lands periodically received in this fund. Other lands from this fund, on contrary, are transferring to agricultural organizations and farmers. In general, over the last 5-6 years, the total size of the fund has not significantly changed.


This article generalizes and systematizes the results which were published by its author in various scientific editions ([4-8] and other). The various scientists and experts had opportunity to comment on these results.

Conclusion (advantages and disadvantages of the market of agricultural lands)

 The major advantage of such market is the absence of dissonance between the legal regime of lands and public relations in the AIC, which have a market character. Land relations are essentially in sync with agrarian relations. In addition, the privatization of lands (and permission of their civil turnover) has satisfied the demand for land plots.

The market turnover of agricultural land has become the main method of redistribution and optimization of land use patterns.

The major negative is fact that the many of reformation innovations did not yield the expected results. For example, land shares did not led to the development of a civilized market of these lands; the use of agricultural lands as collateral is little accepted (in 2012, less than 0.5% of agriculture-purpose lands were in pledge); and new land owners have not begun to invest in the improvement of land.

Also the disadvantage of market is criminalization the land sphere. There have attempts to seize land property (especially land shares), as well as the corruptibility of land granting procedures.

Ultimately, the demand for such unusual for Soviet period phenomena as private ownership of land and the agricultural land market depend on processes in AIC and other real sectors of the economy.

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  10. Pravovye problemy racional’nogo ispol’zovanija i oborota zemel’ sel’skohozjajstvennogo naznachenija. [Legal problems of rational use and turnover of agricultural lands]. Monography. Edit. by S.A.Lipski. Moscow. 2013. 120 p.
  11. PRISHCHEPOV, A.V., MULLER, D., DUBININ, M., BAUMANN, M., RADELOFF, V.C. (2013).  Determinants of agricultural land abandonment in post-Soviet European Russia. Land Use Policy, 30(1). 873-884.
  12. VOLKOV, S.N. (2009). Management of agricultural lands. Land use planning. Agrarian herald of the Urals. (5). P. 13- 17.
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