Land reform á la Lithuanian

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How to turn Have-nots into multi-millionaires and land-owners into beggars

One of the former Lithuanian governments, by “slightly” modifying the law for the return of land to former land-owners, enabled Lithuanian party-comrades and cunning speculators owning waste land in sandy or swampy regions, practically without any value, to “exchange” this land for plots in the most valuable residential areas of the big cities as well as for land situated by pleasant lakes and in recreational areas. This amendment, originally meant as a gift for “deserved” party comrades, has ever since miraculously turned the owners of waste land into multi-millionaires, whereas the legal owners of these valuable residential plots and attractive recreational areas were made beggars by way of this “legal trick” (see below).

This amendment was called “Žemės perkelimas į kitą vietą” (“Transfer of land to a different location”). One should, however, stress that, embarassingly enough, the initiators of this amendment forgot to delete this paragraph of the selfsame law:

“Failing a return of their land in natura land-owners are entitled to a compensation in land of the same value in the same place” …

Ever since spring 2007 the Boards for the reorganization of land-holdings have been sending letters to the original owners demanding that they themselves look for alternative plots of land in far-away districts of the country, as otherwise shares of state-owned enterprises of hardly any value (about 0.5% of the market value of the land not returned) would be allocated to them on a compulsory basis, as there was no alternative land “left” in the same location as they original plot (this being a violation of the above law).

Although it has been confirmed by independent experts that there are, in fact, considerably vast plots of land for compensation purposes left in the big cities (especially in Kaunas), however, these plots of land are being withheld from the owners by the officials of the re-allocation authorities, as they have long before been earmarked for real-estate companies and similar enterprises, allegedly “for public purposes” (this being also a grave violation of Lithuanian laws)

Another important cause for the alledged “lack of land” is the above-mentioned “Transfer of land to a different location”. By a “legal trick” the law-givers of a former parliament are donating the land of the legal owners and also the land meant for compensation purposes to deserved party-comrades and to crafty speculators in exchange for waste land of practically no value. The legal owners of these valuable plots of land are “compensated” by shares of hardly any value (0.5% of the market price of the land stolen by this trick). That way the ruling Lithuanian Nomenklatura is performing a wonder. Turn Have-Nots into multi-millionaires and at the same time legal owners into beggars!

Christian Nekvedavicius

2009-02-09

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