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Russia: Yeltsin Declares Solidarity With Peasants

Moscow, 24 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - President Boris Yeltsin said today that Russian farmers must retain the right to buy land easily.

Yeltsin visited two farms during a working vacation in the Samara region. He said he won't sign a land code under consideration in parliament because it would prohibit the purchase and sale of farmland.

The upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, approved the new land code on July 3. It is now before the State Duma, the lower house. The legislation reverses a decree Yeltsin issued last year. Yeltsin said the rest of the world permits farmland purchase rights. He asked: "What are we afraid of?"

Communists and others suspicious of sweeping market reforms have resisted a land bill for years. But under the terms of its loan from the International Monetary Fund, Russia has committed to move ahead on land reform.