Historical monuments under threat due to ‘Far Eastern hectares' distribution 

Historical monuments under threat due to ‘Far Eastern hectares' distribution
Nikolaevskoe settlement

Far Eastern scientists are sounding the alarm due to the fact that the reserves and medieval towns are under threat – starting on February 1, any Russian can apply for a free plot of land in the territory of archaeological monument.

According to publicly available information, the attendance of the Federal Information System’s (FIS) site nadalniyvostok.rf (To the Far East), where one can submit its application for a ‘Far Eastern hectare’, has increased significantly.

At the same time, a large number of archaeological sites is not marked on the FIS's map. As a result, the lans plots on which the sites are located, are under threat. In particular, this applies to Nikolaevskoe site of ancient town in the Partizansky district of the Primorsky region;  there is a person who wants to get a free plot of land right in the heart of the medieval settlement.

Meanwhile, the Nikolaevskoe settlement is a historical monument of federal significance and dates back to the 12-13 centuries. It was built in the times of the Jurchen Jin Empire. The total area of the territory is 33 hectares; it is fenced with 12-meter high earthen ramparts around the perimeter.

Researchers say they have been exploring this area for more than a decade. Many unique historical finds have been discovered there, with scientific papers written on their subject.

According to Head of the Medieval Archaeology Sector at the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the RAS's Far Eastern Branch, Candidate of Historical Sciences Nadezhda Artemyeva, after scientists learned about the distribution of land on this territory, they began sounding the alarm and seeking help in every possible instance.

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Archaeological finds in the Nikolaevskoe settlement

The Prosecutor's Office of the Partizansky district has promised to deal with the situation, assuring that the fact the application for the land has been filed does not mean that application will be approved, and the plot granted.

Nadezhda Artemyeva also noted that not only the Nikolaevskoe settlement is under threat; there are many archaeological sites in Primorye.

"We can not monitor the situation across the region. We are scientists, it is not our function. Why not mark the archaeological monuments gray on the interactive map from the very beginning, like those plots of land not subject to distribution?" Nadezhda Artemyeva said.

Let us note that according to the Law on 'Far Eastern hectare', a person who gets a plot of land, has the right to plow and build it up on his own discretion. At the same time, the land plots issued are not subjected to the state historical and cultural expertise. Meanwhile, archaeological sites are not only federal property, which is under state protection, but also relate to the areas of special land use regime. Any activities other than archaeological investigations are forbidden. Therefore, the transfer of land plots into private ownership is a violation of Federal Law "On Cultural Heritage" and entails a loss of the cultural layer.

A similar problem is also encountered in the Sakhalin. Areas located on the territory of the Poronaysk reserve are distributed as part of the 'Far Eastern hectare' campaign. To date, eight applications for land near the mouths of spawning rivers have been filed, and the local administration has approved them.

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