President Boris Yeltsin may issue a decree this week giving individuals and families the right to perpetual tenure of agricultural land that they have until now rented from the state and used for private agriculture, government sources are quoted as saying. (1) The decree is not expected to put an end to the controversial issue of whether the free sale of land should be allowed in Russia, but it should at least prevent local authorities from trying to expropriate or charge exorbitant rents for land that individuals have used, often for decades, to grow fruit and vegetables or cultivate livestock, or where they have built cottages for relaxation purposes. The decree is also intended to protect the rights of country dwellers to land they received when state or collective farms were broken up. (2)
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