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Russia Disbands the Concept of ‘Dacha’

Nickolas Titkov / Flickr

The New Year has ushered in a slew of new laws in Russia, including one that disappears the very concept of country cottages, known as dachas, where many Russians spend their summers.

More than 60 million Russians are estimated to own dachas nationwide. What kind of dacha they own, though, was previously decided by nine official definitions. Government authorities have decried that complexity as confusing.

A new law — passed in July 2017 and which took effect on Jan. 1, 2019 — now divides summer properties into “gardening” plots or “vegetable farming” partnerships.

“Of course, no one is forbidden to call each other dachniki,” State Duma deputy Oleg Valenchuk said, referring to the colloquial term describing dacha owners and visitors, shortly after the changes became law in 2017.

Under the new law, residential buildings are forbidden on vegetable farming properties. Conversely, owners of gardening plots can register the property as their permanent place of residence.

“This is generally the right decision, since too many organizational forms have led to confusion,” the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta wrote last week.

Experts have reassured current dacha owners that the measures have no retroactive effect.

President Vladimir Putin signed the revisions into law on July 29, 2017.

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