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Officials give land with pipes

Date of publication: 26 December 2017 Printable version

A law prohibiting to allocate land within pipelines’ conservation zones is required

There are hundreds of constructions within pipelines conservation zones (CZ) for which court proceedings are held There are resolutions to break them down and precedents of housebreaking. Legal assessment of the situation is required, but not political declarations.

There are about 15 million allotment gardens in Russia. Sergei Mironov, the leader of the Just Russia party, informs on one and a half million summer houses located in the risk zone. Such statistics creates an image of the country, residents of which live on a pipeline as honey fungus on a tree.

But the Ministry of Construction Industry, Housing and Utilities Sector of the RF (Russian Federation) reports on the number of facilities in the conservation zones of Gazprom and Transneft in the whole country: 44,905 capital construction facilities and 61,401 residents potentially suffering from the pipe’s neighborhood. About 9 thousand cases on the fact of illegal construction are now in courts.

How did it happen? Pipes are in the ground which does not become the property of the pipes’ owners. It was often allocated for gardens. And then there was the “garden amnesty”, local authorities registered the gardens as summer houses. Some people sold these allotments immediately, some people constructed their own houses. In many regions the scheme was the same: officially a lesser part of the announced amount was paid, and the greater part was transferred in cash, reducing future tax burden. As a consequence, it is impossible to build a house on such land, and the summer house owner is unlikely to return the whole amount.

The allotments with pipes are leveled, with good approach. It is possible to connect to gas or steal fuel there. It is not a coincidence, that the largest number of illegal tappings is in Moscow Region, where there is the largest number of violations of the CZ.

The local authorities border all this “feast of life”.

It is prohibited to build or plant anything within the borders of the CZ, but it is permitted to plant trees within the minimum allowed distance zone (MADZ). But there are thousand of violations.

There are 9,134 residential and non-residential facilities within the CZ and MAD.

13,724 persons reside within the CZ and MAD.

The law provides no punishment for officials breaking restrictions for using the CZ - it is a legislative vacuum. Making use of it, some cunning officials continue allocating lands to property developers who sell cheap allotments to trusting customers. When a person buys a “gas” allotment, he/she has problems with the pipeline’s owners.

Cost of such land can be by far lower than the market value. For example, a repair vehicle arrives to the conservation zone and meets a new fence across the pipe. There is an allotment where a private gas-holder is dug in just over a pipe in settlement Losiny ostrov in Moscow Region.

Who is responsible for that? The fence can stand for a couple of years, and then summer houses can be constructed behind it. The company operating the pipeline starts a lawsuit. Companies with loud names, selling such lands, can even inform that the pipe is near. But there are no cadastral restrictions.

Top-5 regions with maximum number of violations

Subject of the RF

Residential houses


Non-residential houses

Moscow Region




Chelyabinsk Region




Republic of Bashkortostan




Republic of Tatarstan




Perm Territory




Most families cannot obtain full compensation - most of money was transferred in cash upon the transaction. Liubov Turova, a resident of Perm, filed an action against an individual seller, who sold an allotment in the CZ to her with an illegal building license. The court drags on...

There are stories with happy end. The court obliged the administration of Ramensky District of Moscow Region to pay 29 million rubles as compensation for breaking of the house, the owner of which had all the necessary authorization documents.

The problem of compensation to owners has been solved by means of amendments to laws approved in October by the Government of the RF. Depending on what was constructed earlier - a house or a pipeline - local government authorities or the company owning the pipe will be obliged to pay compensation for breaking. Of course, there is no compensation for squatter development.

Moscow Region has the largest number of violations of the CZ. Zone of ring petroleum products trunk pipeline (RPPTP), pumping the fuel to Moscow airports, is actively built on. To stop the RPPTP “in favour of people who built houses near the pipes” means sending thousands of petrol tankers to crowded roads, causing a traffic standstill on the roads and in the air.

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