Arctic Hectare in 2023: Interim Results
Tundra Relocation Statistics9 august 2023
To mark the second anniversary of the Arctic Hectare programme, the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic has released interim statistics on the project's progress. It was found that over 5,000 people have been granted free land within the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation. These people have constructed new homes across 3,500 ha, established private farms, built tourist bases or started other businesses. The majority of applications was related to the land in the Russian North or the European part of the Russian Polar Region. Thus, 3,026 plots were allocated for use in the Murmansk Region, 698 — in Korelia, and 503 — in Arkhangelsk. Overall, this is not surprising as citizens' interest in acquiring a hectare is directly tied to the region's infrastructure development level. The Murmansk Region is a leader among the AZRF regions due to its robust industrial potential and larger population.
The largest share of all approved applications (40%) accounted for private house construction. This figure is expected to be even higher in the Murmansk Region, given the support from local authorities. In late July, the region's governor Andrey Chibis encouraged his subordinates to fully support program participants. However, participants are also taking initiative by forming unique hectare agglomerations, which make it easier to establish communications and interact with local authorities. Such groups can emerge in previously less inhabited areas, leading to the introduction of communal and social infrastructure, such as electricity, postal services and roads. There are currently 37 such agglomerations, comprising a total of 2,440 individuals. Authorities are hopeful that the preferential Arctic mortgage, ‘Arctic Hectares’ will significantly broaden citizens' opportunities to acquire their own homes. Incidentally, the region's vacant spaces, approximately 158 hectares, will be developed concurrently, as per the regional department of Rosreestr.
Entrepreneurship follows private housing construction, accounting for 26% of the total ‘Arctic Hectares’, with tourism projects making up another 12%. Both agriculture and other activities each hold an equal share of 11% in the statistics. Acquiring an ‘Arctic Hectare’ does not negate participation in regional and federal support programmes. For instance, an entrepreneur from Arkhangelsk can construct a ski resort on Krasnaya Gorka in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, leveraging both the benefits of being an AZRF resident and the Arctic Hectare programme participant. The implementation of this large-scale project also presupposed preferential financing for construction. To secure such substantial benefits in practice, one have to demonstrate the seriousness of their intentions: the developer's company plans to invest around 200 million rubles into the resort. The government maintains strict oversight over activities on the free land, which is established under the Far Eastern Hectare programme.
The government expects citizens to fulfil their plans as outlined in their applications: honesty from one side implies reciprocation from the other. To date, the first 100 individuals have received support from regional authorities, obtaining over 120 million rubles. Each entity possesses its own set of support measures designed to stimulate growth in key economic sectors. For instance, in the Murmansk Region, the highest amount of funding (up to 10 million rubles) can be obtained for developing a family farm, while up to 5 million rubles can be allocated for establishing a livestock farm or roadside service station.
Acquiring an ‘Arctic Hectare’ remains an easy process. It is necessary to submit an application specifying the purpose of acquiring the plot and select it from those available on the map. After a period of 5 years, the land will either transfer to its owner or become available for lease. The land must be used for its intended purpose, while leasing and sub-leasing are not allowed. Failure to adhere to the conditions can result in the loss of the right to use the hectare.