The Russian Government has defined the specific aspects of archaeological reconnaissance and a historical and cultural expert review

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Pepeliaev Group advises that the Russian Government's Resolution No. 2418 dated 30 December 2023 (the “Resolution”) has been adopted. The Resolution established specific aspects of whether archaeological heritage sites are present or absent on territories of construction and other works.

The Resolution, which came into force starting from 6 February, provides for cases when developers are released from the need to conduct archaeological reconnaissance in order to determine whether a construction site has any items with signs of archaeological heritage sites.

According to the Resolution, archaeological reconnaissance and a historical and cultural expert review are not conducted:

1) If planned work does not fall within the following types of work, the impact from which may harm archaeological heritage sites:

  • excavation work (in populated settlements, with burial into the ground by more than 0.5 m or to a depth exceeding the thickness of technogenic soils), except for:
    • excavation work related to the laying of utilities in existing channels, tunnels and communication collectors;
    • excavation work related to the reconstruction and capital repair of first and second category highways within the boundaries of their right-of-way;
    • excavation work performed within the boundaries of existing foundations and supports of buildings, structures and facilities;
  • work carried out using explosive technologies, as well as heavy impact mechanisms with a mass exceeding 10 tons;
  • other work, the performance of which is restricted in accordance with Russian legislation owing to possible damage to archaeological heritage sites.

2) If work is planned on the following territories:

  • land plots belonging to individuals based on the ownership title or another legal basis and intended for owner-operated (agricultural) farming, personal subsidiary farming, horticulture, gardening, individual housing construction, and garage construction;
  • artificial land lots;
  • land plots or water bodies subjected to a natural and anthropogenic impact resulting in changes in the soil structure at the greatest depth of the cultural deposit;
  • land plots of agricultural designation used for agricultural production, the creation of ameliorative protective forest plantations, research, educational and other purposes related to agricultural production, as well as for the purposes of aquaculture (fish farming), for activities in the sphere of hunting (except for cases of excavation work with burial into the ground by more than 0.5 m);
  • in other cases provided for by Russian legislation.

3) If the following conditions are met simultaneously:

  • The developer sends a notification of the commencement of work to the authority responsible for the protection of cultural heritage sites;
  • work is performed in inhabited localities (including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sevastopol);
  • work is carried out in areas outside the red lines marking the boundaries of the street and road network (in the absence of approved documentation on territory planning, outside the lines of highways, streets and passages);
  • work is carried out outside the boundaries of land plots and natural boundaries of natural environmental sites nearest to cultural heritage sites (including archaeological heritage sites), identified cultural heritage sites, from the date of creation or time of origin from which more than 100 years have passed, as well as to buildings, structures and facilities, from the date of whose creation more than 100 years have passed.


    Previously, a historical and cultural expert review was mandatory in all cases when the authority in the area of the protection of cultural heritage sites has no information that the corresponding land plots have no cultural heritage sites on them, or items having such signs.

    The Resolution significantly reduces the obligations to conduct a historical and cultural expert review. We believe that the possibility of a special exemption from a historical and cultural expert review when carrying out reconstruction work within the boundaries of existing foundations, as well as the mitigation of requirements for archaeological reconnaissance in settlements, may be of particular interest for developers.

The rules introduced by the Resolution are in effect until criteria are determined for territories with respect to which there are grounds to suppose that these territories contain archaeological heritage sites or items having signs of archaeological heritage sites. Criteria to determine the above territories and the procedure for approving their boundaries shall be established by the Russian Government pursuant to amendments to Federal Law No. 73-FZ “On cultural heritage sites (historical and cultural landmarks) of the peoples of the Russian Federation” dated 25 June 2002, which came into force from 4 August 2018Federal Law No. 342-FZ “On amending the Russian Town-Planning Code and certain items of Russian legislation” dated 3 August 2018.
. However, at present such criteria have not been set.

What to think about and what to do

The Resolution is aimed at eliminating excessive, but costly for developers, obligations to conduct archaeological reconnaissance and a historical and cultural expert review in relation to areas where there is no or a minimal likelihood of discovering archaeological sites.

We recommend taking into account the specific aspects established by the Resolution when you plan and prepare for construction work.

Help from your adviser

Pepeliaev Group has extensive experience of providing legal support to business implementing construction projects.

The lawyers of Pepeliaev Group are ready to provide the necessary legal assistance to developers, including advising on issues of applying the legislation.

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