The Monitor’s correspondent in Saratov Oblast reports that a fresh bid is being made to have the region’s liberal land law struck down. Our correspondent has learned that Russia’s Prosecutor General had lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court against last month’s decision by a Saratov Oblast court to reject the Prosecutor General’s original complaint against the law. Saratov’s law, adopted in November 1997, was the first in Russia to legalize the free sale of agricultural and other land. (For details, see Ilya Malyakin, “Saratov Oblast’s Land Privatization Law,” Jamestown Foundation Prism, June 12)
The Prosecutor General’s office wants the law repealed on the grounds that federal law does not give the executive branch at regional level the right to trade in land. The Saratov authorities countered that their law contradicts no federal law. The oblast court found in favor of the regional authorities and dismissed the Prosecutor General’s case.
This is an important test case because, in the absence of federal legislation, many other regions have been preparing to copy Saratov’s example. Their legislation will be liable to challenge if the Supreme Court now finds in favor of the Prosecutor General.
BLACK SEA COUNTRIES BEGIN TALKS ON CONFIDENCE-BUILDING.