During the ban on the sale of agricultural land, about 5 million hectares of state land were illegally appropriated in Ukraine, and a shadow market for land turnover without taxes, official employment and social guarantees for people was formed inside the country. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a speech at the All-Ukrainian Forum "Ukraine 30. Land".
The Head of State noted that nothing had been done by the Ukrainian authorities to implement land reform in the last 20 years.
"They promised, manipulated, even ate the soil on the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, they frightened us that it would be taken abroad in railway cars. But the worst thing is that they have deprived seven million Ukrainian citizens of their constitutional right to own land. People could not dispose of land: buy, sell or bequeath it, as in many countries, for example the United States, Germany or Poland. A moratorium was in force for Ukrainians, as in Venezuela or North Korea," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
According to him, during the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land, almost 1 million landowners died, and the cost of a hectare of agricultural land became the lowest in Europe.
"The former parliaments were unable not only to carry out land reform, but also to start discussing the relevant laws. Instead, they succeeded in another: they actually formed an offshore area of more than eight million hectares inside the country. It was a gray, shadow market, where it was easy to buy or sell the land, reap a harvest and earn millions without paying any taxes, official employment and social guarantees for people," the Head of State stressed.
The President noted that, according to preliminary estimates, during the moratorium, about 5 million hectares of state-owned agricultural land in Ukraine were illegally appropriated, which is almost equal to the area of the two peninsulas of Crimea occupied by Russia.
"Of course, we will do everything to return both. But now it is not about plans for the future, it is about what we have already done. The transparent land market is what we promised the citizens of Ukraine and what we are implementing. We did it for the people, taking into account their warnings and wishes," said the President, noting that hundreds of regional land forums, expert discussions, public discussions and approvals of the land market model were held.
The Head of State reminded that on their basis in March 2020 the first step was taken towards the opening of the land market - the Verkhovna Rada passed a law on the introduction of the circulation of agricultural land. And in May 2020, the parliament voted, and the President signed a law on the national infrastructure of geospatial data.
"National infrastructure, in particular a single geoportal of open data - is information about all land, water and forest resources. An important portal where you can see the owner of every square meter of land in Ukraine just on the screen of your smartphone,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy explained.
The Head of State also reminded that in July 2020 he had signed a law on spatial planning of communities, because communities know best how to organize their lives: where to have a kindergarten, school, public roads or industrial facilities. To fully complete decentralization, a decree was signed on the transfer of agricultural land from state to communal ownership.
"Local communities have received more than two million hectares of land, as well as the opportunity to allocate funds from land use to their development and well-being," the President added.