Historically, land has always had a special meaning to the Russian people. Long before the 1917 revolution, land was seen as a community asset and, thus, had more “communal” uses than in Western Europe or North America, where land was seen as an object for market activities following the rules of demand and supply with a price attached to it. The Soviet Union’s Land Law was based on a theory that did not recognize private landownership nor its market economy potential. Land was treated as a publicly owned natural resource. The only economic value that was recognized was its soil’s productivity. That assumption resulted in the development of one of the most accurate and comprehensive soil cadastres that the world has ever known. However, issues of legal ownership were not addressed by the Soviet cadastre. Many of the problems with today’s institutional structures for the registration of ownership rights in land and other real property, as well as the difference between land administration in general and the management of State-owned land, are a direct result of this attitude.
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