Solzhenitsyn opposes trading farmland in Russia

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel prize winning author, has raised his voice against buying and selling of farmland in Russia. "Land should be owned, being the property of the farmer only and nobody else - not a plunderer or a landlord," Mr. Solzhenitsyn told journalists today, before the opening of Russia’s State Council session on land reform. Russia should start the turnover of farmland by forming land banks and committees with divisions in each region, not with auctions Mr. Solzhenitsyn is quoted by Interfax as saying. Land banks should be authorized by the government to hold all available farmland and farmers should be entitled to low-interest loans to be paid in instalments to buy the land from the banks. Land may be given free of charge to descendants of those who were stripped of their land and exiled in Soviet times, if other villagers testify to that, Mr. Solzhenitsyn proposes. He is convinced that a land bank should not depend on any government institution. Mr. Solzhenitsyn warns that otherwise the Russian land will find itself in the hands of robber capitalists who are keen to make a lucrative investment of land just to preserve their billions.