Land Registration

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Land Registration


the collection, systematization, storage, and updating of information on the availability, condition, and utilization of land.

In the USSR, land registration is a form of national economic record keeping; it forms a framework for the planned and rational use of land and preserves the state’s exclusive ownership of land and established rights of land tenure.

The tasks, functions, and methods of land registration depend on the particular requirements of socialist construction at each stage of development. During the period immediately after the October Revolution, land registration ensured an equal distribution of land among the peasants and aided in land allocation and the development of a land code. During the period of reconstruction (1921–25), land registration proved important in consolidating the system of land tenure, and registration data subsequently played an important role in organizing socialist agriculture, formulating plans for agriculture, and ensuring a rational distribution of farmland. The widespread introduction of intensive systems of crop cultivation made necessary a thorough study and valuation of the country’s land resources. Qualitative indicators, such as data on soil valuation, which together with other registration data form part of the land cadastre, acquired particular significance.

A uniform, all-Union system of registration of land tenure has been in existence in the USSR since 1955. Registration is performed for each category of land (seeLAND RESOURCES OF THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS) and land user; it is also carried out for agricultural land. The registration process involves a basic, or first-stage, registration, which is then updated on a yearly basis to take account of any changes in the land. The system of land registration also includes the compilation of annual land reports on the raion, city, oblast (krai), and republic level and the preparation of annual balances of land resources of the USSR (seeBALANCE OF LAND RESOURCES).

The basic documents used in land registration are the state book for registration of land tenure, which is maintained by the raion (city), and the land survey book, which is kept by agricultural enterprises. The right of kolkhozes, sovkhozes, and certain other land users to use land in perpetuity is conferred by the State Land Use Act, which was ratified by the Council of Ministers of the USSR (March 1975). The Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR is responsible for land registration; it is also charged with seeing that farmland is used properly.

In other socialist countries, land registration is used for economic planning and management and for the preservation and rational use of land resources. The laws of a number of European socialist countries establish rules for documenting land registration; the documents include cadastral maps (of property boundaries, relative values) and cadastral books (land registers, card indexes of real estate, compilations of comparative land valuations).

In capitalist countries, land registration is the principal means of strengthening and preserving the existing order with regard to land, in particular private ownership. Registration data are used primarily to serve the financial interests of the dominant class and to shift most of the burden of the land tax onto the peasantry. With the growth of intensive agriculture in the developed capitalist countries, measures pertaining to land cadastres have been used to ensure the rational organization of agricultural production and the maximum output per unit of area.

As a scientific discipline, land registration concerns itself with quantitative and qualitative changes in the distribution and use of land, with the laws or patterns governing these changes, and with the influence of natural and technical factors on the changes. Registration also provides a scientifically based characterization of the state and utilization of land; in addition, it develops categories, indicators, and methods of registration required for scientific study and practical purposes.


Zemel’noe pravo. Moscow, 1969.
Kommentarii k Osnovam zemel’nogo zakonodatel’stva Soiuza SSR i soiuznykh respublik. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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