In this comprehensive discussion, we delve into the role of the Deputy Chief State Inspector in Moscow, the Andrey Kanikovsky Department, and the Department’s efforts to oversee and protect lands in Russia. This interview sheds light on the measures taken to prevent violations of land legislation and the strategies employed to maintain the integrity of federal-state land control (supervision).
Preventive Measures as a Priority
The foundation of Federal Law No. 248 “On State Control (Supervision) and Municipal Control in the Russian Federation” prioritizes preventive measures when it comes to enforcing control and supervision in land management. This approach aims to encourage conscientious compliance with mandatory requirements by those under scrutiny, eliminating potential triggers for violations and safeguarding legally protected values.
A cornerstone of these preventive measures is the “preventive visit.” Inspectors conduct these visits either in person at the controlled person’s place of activity or via video conferencing. The primary objective is to educate land users about the mandatory requirements for their activities and cultivate a responsible attitude towards Russia’s land legislation. Notably, these visits, totaling over 150 this year, do not result in orders or fines; they are purely advisory in nature.
Andrey Kanikovsky Department Sets a New Standard
If preventive measures fail to achieve their intended goals, there exists a mechanism for compulsory incentives to rectify violations. These incentives, enacted in collaboration with the prosecutor’s office, often take the form of unscheduled inspections and the application of administrative measures.
During the first half of the year, the Department, in coordination with the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation and the prosecutor’s office, conducted 22 unscheduled on-site inspections targeting entities that had not taken independent action to rectify land legislation violations. These investigations revealed instances of unauthorised occupation of land plots owned by the Russian Federation, leading to the imposition of administrative fines on the offenders.
Addressing Unauthorized Land Occupation
Citizens who find their land plots occupied without permission should follow a specific course of action. To halt such unauthorized occupation, individuals must file a report with the Office of Rosreestr in Moscow, detailing the situation, providing the address or a cadastral number of the land plot, and sharing contact information for communication.
Upon reviewing the report, a control (supervision) event is initiated, and federal and state land control (supervision) inspectors engage with the violator to encourage voluntary resolution of the violations. If the violator remains non-compliant and refuses to vacate the unauthorized area, the Department initiates an unscheduled inspection. This proactive approach has resulted in the return of land plots totaling over 250,000 square meters to their rightful owners since 2020. Additionally, the injured party retains the right to file a court claim to recover part of the land plot from illegal possession and enforce the removal of any unlawfully erected fences.
The Primary Violation: Land Use Contrary to Permitted Purposes
The most prevalent violation identified during federal-state land supervision relates to the misuse of land plots that do not align with their designated purpose. Let’s explore how the Department currently detects these violations.
Detection of Unauthorised Land Use
Within the framework of the “National Spatial Data System” state programme, the Department conducts remote surveys of land plots, identifying instances where land use deviates from the permitted purposes. This proactive approach involves over 950 remote control and surveillance activities, encompassing a vast area of 5 thousand hectares.
The “National Spatial Data System” represents a comprehensive nationwide project that consolidates disparate information systems related to land and real estate at both federal and regional levels. This system streamlines the search, collection, creation, storage, processing, provision, and distribution of spatial data. It is designed to enhance the efficiency of land use, and Moscow has been at the forefront of its implementation, setting a precedent for other regions.
Moreover, within the scope of this program, the Department actively searches for and surveys the points of the state geodetic and leveling networks.
State Geodetic and Levelling Networks: Purpose and Tasks
The state geodetic network serves the purpose of establishing state coordinate systems, disseminating them throughout the Russian Federation, and facilitating the creation of geodetic networks for specialized applications. Each point in the network has a distinct number, and the federal spatial data fund keeps track of its coordinates. Importantly, these points are federal property and enjoy state protection.
Over the course of seven months this year, federal and state land control (supervision) inspectors examined 250 points. Of these, 76 were preserved, while 174 had been destroyed. In the previous year (2022), 356 points underwent assessment, with 171 remaining intact and 185 destroyed. For the surviving points, security zones were established, and inquiries were sent to relevant authorities and property owners to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the destruction of the others.
Challenges in Surveying Geodetic Points
Surveying these geodetic points presents unique challenges. These points can be situated on various structures, including buildings, roofs, basements, roads, or even underground. As a result, inspectors must be equipped with specialized gear such as metal detectors, and satellite geodetic equipment, and often, must traverse challenging terrain, such as snowy, swampy, or forested areas. In some cases, historical records and old maps are relied upon for guidance, further complicating the task due to changes that have occurred over time.
Collaboration and Ingenuity in Search
The search for geodetic points often requires collaboration with local entities and individuals who possess knowledge of the area’s history. For example, the Museum of the History of the Aleksandrovo-Shchapovo Estate and church ministers have provided assistance in locating geodetic points in specific areas. Inspectors also engage with old-timers and residents to gain insights into historical landmarks and changes in the landscape over the years.
In conclusion, the role of the Deputy Chief State Inspector in Moscow and the Department is pivotal in ensuring compliance with land legislation through federal-state land control. Preventive measures, including preventive visits and administrative incentives, play a central role in maintaining adherence to land regulations. When unauthorised land occupation occurs, a clear process is in place to address it, including legal recourse through the courts.
Furthermore, the use of technology and initiatives like the “National Spatial Data System” demonstrate the commitment to efficient land management. The dedication of inspectors to preserving and surveying geodetic points, despite the challenges they face, ensures the accuracy and reliability of land data, contributing to the overall integrity of land control and supervision in Russia.