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State Duma to Extend Free Housing Privatization

The State Duma will soon extend the deadline for free privatization of public housing beyond March 1, 2013, Deputy Speaker Sergei Neverov said Wednesday.

Dmitry Peskov, official spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said earlier on Wednesday the president deems it necessary to extend the deadline for free privatization of housing, RIA-Novosti reported.

"President Vladimir Putin's suggestion to extend the deadline for free privatization of housing for all categories of citizens will be accepted by the State Duma without delay," Neverov said.

He added that the Duma plans to introduce amendments to the Housing Code.
The current deadline for free privatization of housing is scheduled for March 1. 

Privatization of housing in Russia began in 1992. The period during which owners can privatize their apartments without paying full taxes and fees has already been extended twice, RIA-Novosti said.

Neverov stressed that the presidential initiative to extend the period will help avoid the hustle associated with the deadline's approach.  

Galina Khovanskaya, head of the Duma Committee for Housing Policy, told RIA-Novosti there were six bills currently under consideration by the committee that propose different ways of extending free privatization. She recalled that the government has already enacted the extension of the free privatization period for military personnel.

Khovanskaya noted, however, that it would be unfair to single out a social group by offering it privatization benefits and spoke in favor of providing free privatization opportunities to all homeowners, with the exception of those who cannot afford their own housing.

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