One more difficulty in receiving compensation for a seized land plot, which may arise in some instances, is the contesting, by a state body, of the very fact of lawful possession of a land plot. In an event of the recognition of such a fact, an enterprise will be deprived of the right to receive any payments in connection with the seizure of land. Such a situation is associated with the existence of a considerable quantity of lands being used by enterprises and organizations by right of permanent (or in perpetuity) use, or of uncompensated fixed-term use.
In order to confirm the fact of their lawful possession of land, the enterprises sometimes are forced to recall the “history of a land plot” from the 1960s and until the present time, and to prove numerous facts of legal succession (for example, Decree of the FAC of the Moscow Okrug of 19 October 2007, No. KG-А40/8939-07-1,2 in respect of case No. A40-68387/0617-460). All this significantly complicates and lengthens the procedure for receiving compensation, and sometimes makes it altogether impossible, because any gaps and formal inconsistencies in the “history” may be used as grounds for recognizing the fact of unlawful possession of land and, as a consequence, the absence of any rights to receive compensation for its seizure.
Besides, the State has adopted norms designed to limit the rights of private persons in the domain of obtaining fair compensation in an event of seizure of a land plot. Thus, for example, from 1 January 2008, when lands are seized for state or municipal needs, their owners, possessors, users and leasers will receive no compensation for loss of agricultural production (Item 4 of Article 32 of the RF Land Code, in the wording approved by Federal Law of 18 December 2006, No. 232-FZ). The seizure of agricultural lands is currently being done rather actively, in connection with the expansion of the boundaries of cities and megapolises, the latter being very willing to develop the territories formerly belonging to collective and state farms.
The size of compensations for loss of agricultural produce, according to some estimations, were considerable83, and the procedure for obtaining them very difficult. This was conducive to efficient protection of agricultural lands from seizure for state needs. In Krasnodar Krai, the agroindustrial complex represents the foundation of the region’s economic potential, and in the region of Sochi there still exist agricultural zones84. But in Moscow, for purposes of building social infrastructure objects, the land plots of former collective and state farms are being actively developed.
5. 3. 4. The Introduction of a Special Procedure for Seizure of Land Plots in Krasnodar Krai in Connection with the Conduct of the Olympic Games in the City of Sochi Today, one of the most vital problems in the domain of land relations is represented by seizure of land in Krasnodar Krai in connection with the construction of sports facilities for Kommentarii k st. 58 Zemel’nogo kodeksa RF. See: Kommentarii k Zemel’nomu kodeksu RF s postateinymi materialami i sudebnoi praktikoi. [Commentary to Article 58 of the RF Land Code. See: Commentary to the RF Land Code, with materials to each Article and judicial practices] / Ed. by S. A. Bogoliubov // www.garant.ru.
Section Institutional Problems the Olympic Games in the city of Sochi. In December 2007, Federal Law of 1 December 2007, No. 310-FZ85, was adopted, which determined, among other issues, also the special procedure for seizure of land. It is envisaged that, when lands are seized in order to build thereon the facitilities for the Olympic Games, the norms stipulated in the Land Code are applicable only when not otherwise determined by the Law on the organization and conduct of the Olympic Games.
The newly adopted law introduces in Krasnodar Krai, for the period from 1 January 2008 until 1 January 2012, a different procedure for seizure of land, which envisages the minimum periods for effectuating each phase of the procedure of seizure. Thus, the timeline for the notification of a seizure is 7 days from the moment of making the related decision (under the RF Land Code – 1 year); for the publication of the decision concerning reserving/seizure – 7 days from the moment of it being made (there is no corresponding norm in the RF Land Code); for concluding a contract with a valuer – 7 days from the day of making the decision concerning seizure; for preparing a draft agreement and acquainting with it the person from whom a land plot is being seized – 20 days from the day of receiving the resolution concerning evaluation (no such provisions concerning timelines exist in the Land Code, either) (Items 18–24 of Article 15 of Federal Law No. 310-FZ).
The evaluation of the land plot to be seized and the losses thus incurred is to be made by a valuer, the contract with whom will be concluded by the Administration of Krasnodar Krai and the State Corporation “Olimpstroi” (Item 21 of Article 15 of Federal Law No. 310-FZ).
No timelines are established for the payment of compensation for a seized land plot, although the RF Land Code allows the seizure of a land plot for state needs only after the granting, at the wish of the persons from whom seizure of land plots is being made, including by purchase, of land plots of equal value, and the compensation of the value of dwelling, production, and other buildings, structures, and installations situated on the land plots being seized; and compensation of losses in full, including lost advantage (Item 1 of Article 63 of the RF LC). However, neither the preliminary granting of a land plot of equal value, nor the preliminary compensation of losses is envisaged in the “Olympic Law”.
The only way for the owner and for some categories of possessors of land to avoid its seizure would be the financing and construction, on their own, of a facility intended for the Olympic Games on their land plots (Item 2 of Article 15, and Item 15 of Article 14 of Federal Law No. 310-FZ). The idea itself and conditions to be complied with in this connection appear to be bizarre, at the very least.
Besides, such decisions concerning the seizure of land in Krasnodar Krai are not subject to State registration by the agencies responsible for the registration of the rights to immovable property, which in the whole territory of the RF represents a compulsory condition for the transfer of rights to immovable objects and the transactions involving such objects.
In an event of disagreement of an owner or possessor of land with the proposed conditions of seizure, within two months from the day on which he was notified of the forthcoming seizure of land, the Administration of Krasnodar Krai or a body of local self-government have the right to appeal to a court of justice with a suit in respect of seizure of each of the land plots and (or) the immovable objects situated on them (Item 31 of Article 15 of Federal Law No.
“On the organization and conduct of the 22nd White Olympic Games and the 11th Paraolympic Games – in the city of Sochi, the development of the city of Sochi as a mountain climate health resort, and the introduction of changes into individual legislative acts of the RF”.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks 310-FZ). In this connection, the judicial decision concerning the seizure of land plots and (or) the immovable property objects situated on them is subject to immediate execution (Item of Article 15 of Federal Law No. 310-FZ). In other words, while the owner or possessor of a land plot is appealing for the recall or alteration of the judicial decision rendered, his land plot will be kept in the ownership of the federal authorities or the authorities of a RF subject and being used by them in accordance with the plan of preparations for the Olympic Games for building sports facilities. Given such circumstances, it would be nave to hope for a recall of the judicial decision and a reorganization of the seizure of the land plot on conditions differing from those that have been initially consolidated.
As for the effectuation proper of the payments of compensation for the land plots being seized, these will be made by either the State Corporation or by the organizations carrying out the construction of objects for the Olympic Games (Item 32 of Article 15 of Federal Law No. 310-FZ). The procedure for concluding agreements as envisaged in the law is such that both the State Corporation and the construction organizations may initiate the lowering of the value of purchase, while the owners and possessors of land have no such opportunities.
From all the aforesaid it follows that the necessary condition, on which the adequacy of the compensation for the land plots being seized and the associated losses is going to depend, will be efficient administrative control, to be effectuated by the Government alone. The law does not provide for any mechanisms to ensure the protection of the interests of owners and possessors of land, nor for any mechanisms to prevent violations on the part of the officials on whose decisions will depend the determining of the market value of land, the method of evaluation, the procedure for paying compensation, the procedure for granting another land plots in lieu of those being seized, or the settlement of some other issues. The legal regulation of the seizure of land in Krasnodar Krai is organized in such a way that the owners, possessors and leasers of land enjoy only minimum opportunities for influencing the situation in an event of any unjust (in their opinion) decision being made. The shortened periods for nearly all the phases of the procedure of seizure of land are not conducive to improving the situation, either.
The powers to seize and reserve land plots in federal ownership have been granted to the Administration of Krasnodar Krai, thus making it possible, when necessary, to shift the political responsibility for possible violations of civil rights onto the authorities of a RF subject.
The necessity of making decision in an operative fashion in respect of the preparation for the Olympic Games has been the reason for adopting legal norms that ensure the priority of public interests, while ignoring private interests in the domain of seizure of land. According to First Vice Governor of Krasnodar Krai Alexandr Remezkov, a total of more than 3,land plots will be seized in order to place, in the city of Sochi, all the planned sports facilities for the 2014 Olympic Games86. As declared by General Director of the Sochi-2014 Organizing Committee D. Chernyshenko, the seizure of lands in the city of Sochi is a “concocted, purposely overblown problem, in order to serve some other interests”. Besides, he noted that he expected few scandals in connection with seizures of lands, because “95% of the territories intended for construction belong to the State, and therefore, in principle, the field for conflict Vstupil v silu osobyi poriadok iz”iatiia zemel’ pod ob”ekty Olimpiady-2014. [“The special procedure for the seizure of lands for objects intended for the 2014 Olympic games has come into force”] //www.rosbaltsouth.ru, 01.01.2008.
Section Institutional Problems is very small”87. It is noteworthy that the possession and/or use of the majority of land plots in Russia is based on the right of permanent (or in perpetuity) use of a land plot, the right of its inheritable possession for life, the right of lease, and the right of uncompensated fixed-term use and lease. In all these instances, the rights of ownership most often belong to the State.
The right of ownership of land in this case cannot be applied as a valid criterion for determining the scope of potentially conflict-mongering legal relations in the domain of seizure of land plots. Besides, the following question would be quite logical to ask: if the share of deals potentially fraught with conflict is indeed as small as pointed out by the director of the Olympic Committee, why was it necessary to introduce in Krasnodar Krai such a tough administrative procedure for purchasing land, with no regard for the interests of its owners, possessors and leasers Such arguments on the part of the Sochi-2014 Organizing Committee’s General Director are, most probably, associated with the fact that the State will be striving to purchase only the land in private ownership88. As for the lands in permanent (or in perpetuity) use, in inheritable possession for life, and in uncompensated fixed-term use and lease, these will be seized with the granting of other land plots, with their possessors and users being deprived of the right of choice of a land plot (Item 30 of Article 15 of Federal Law No. 310-FZ).
According to the data presented by Minister for Regional development D. Kozak, “it is planned to settle the issue of formalizing the land plots for the construction of 216 Olympic objects”. As can be judged by the preliminary data, this will involve 4,200 hectares of land, of these more than 3,500 hectares being in state or municipal ownership, and 679 – in that of private persons and juridical entities. In February 2008 the Administration of Krasnodar Krai must conduct full inventory of lands. Besides, according to the Minister, everything will be done in order to ensure the protection of the rights of citizens, while the purchase of lands from citizens will be effectuated “at a fair market price”, the control over this procedure being executed by the State Corporation “Olimpstroi” 89.
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