Church to Keep Using State Land for Free

1 min read
Read later

The Russian Orthodox Church is prevailing in a dispute over its free use of government land on which its buildings are located, potentially avoiding a giant bill.

The win also maintains a similar right for synagogues and mosques, though their numbers are tiny compared with Orthodox churches. The State Duma legislation had originally proposed ending the government practice of transferring land to religious groups for free. In Russia, church buildings are usually owned by the Moscow Patriarchate, while the land underneath them typically belongs to municipal authorities.

But the head of the Russian Orthodox Church's legal department said "the current version of the draft legislation" won't change the land use system. Municipal ownership of church land is a vestige of policies in the Soviet Union, in which all land belonged to the state. The Soviet government also confiscated many church buildings and converted them into museums and offices. Many churches were reclaimed in the 1990s.

Under the initial proposals in the Duma, if a church were situated on municipal, regional or federal land, it would either need to pay rent to the relevant government body or buy the land, said Alexei Konevsky, head of Pepeliaev Group's real estate and construction practice. If a church skirted payments under that system, it would risk a government lawsuit to claim compensation for land use, he said.

Such lawsuits could bankrupt religious organizations, with their assets being seized and auctioned off, he added.

Отправить статью

Pepeliaev Group opens its Middle East Desk with an office in Dubai
Read more
Pepeliaev Group’s key projects in 2022
Read more
Aydar Sultanov has joined Pepeliaev Group's team
Read more