Russia has switched to the third stage of its ambitious Far Eastern Hectare program intended to spur the development of its vast and sparsely populated territories in the Far East.

Starting from February 1, every Russian citizen is entitled to file an application for getting a hectare of land in any region of Russia’s Far East for free.

The Law on the Far Eastern Hectare came into force from June 1, 2016. During the first stage of its implementation, the law entitled residents of “pilot” regions in the Russian Far East to choose a plot of land in their municipalities. Four months later, on October 1, 2016, Russia switched to the 2nd stage of implementing the law, allowing Far Eastern residents to get land plots on the entire territory of the Far East in their regions.

From February 1, 2017, every Russian citizen is entitled to choose a plot of land in any of the regions of Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District. For this purpose, Russia has set up a federal information web portal allowing Russian citizens to file an application for a Far Eastern hectare without any bureaucratic delays.

A Russian citizen can do this at home, in any part of the world through the Internet or by applying to a local multifunctional municipal center.

“The website also publishes measures, which can be obtained to develop a hectare of land. There are currently 35 of them. They are related to the possibility of getting a grant for farming, obtaining quotas for timber for building individual housing, taking out micro-loans, taking agricultural machinery on lease and so on,” Russia’s Far East Development Ministry quoted Minister for the Development of the Far East Alexander Galushka as saying.

According to data of the Far Eastern Hectare program’s website, almost 4,200 land plots covering an area of about 3,900 hectares have been allotted since the law came into force.