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Russia: Duma Passes Bill To Ban Sale Of Agricultural Land

Moscow, 11 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's State Duma today passed legislation that would ban the sale of agricultural land.

The land code was adopted by a vote of 285 to 10 with six abstentions. An earlier draft of the code was rejected a year ago by the Federation Council (upper house).

Both drafts make the sale of farm land illegal, but the new draft, revised by a joint parliamentary commission, allows Russians to own - but not to sell - plots previously belonging to state or collective farms.

The draft code also allows ownership of urban land. Foreign individuals, governments and corporate bodies may lease - but not own - land. Leases may not exceed 50 years.

The land code must be approved by the Federation Council and then signed into law by President Boris Yeltsin. In past years Yeltsin has issued several decrees aimed at liberalising land ownership.