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Russians With Houses on State Land Get Right to Buy Plots at Discount

Russians with homes and cottages located on state-owned land now have the exclusive right to buy that land — and at a reduced rate, according to an order signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and published on the government's website Monday.

"For a citizen possessing a residence, dacha or garage on the plot that is being purchased, the price of the plot in the event of its sale is set at 60 percent of its cadastral value," the order states.

A property's cadastral value is an approximation of its market price that is assessed annually by the Russian government and has been used to calculate property taxes since the beginning of this year.

During the Soviet era, citizens were often given small plots of land and allowed to develop them as they chose, with many building "dachas," or country homes, and other small residences.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union the land remained in federal hands, however, leading to conflicts between homeowners and local government over development plans.

In 2010, 22 homes in the Rechnik settlement, once a garden community for Moscow Canal workers, were demolished by court order in a controversial case that saw the homeowners' right to the land fiercely debated.

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