Russia's Giving Away Free Land in Siberia

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Russia's Giving Away Free Land in Siberia

A massive, modern-day Manifest Destiny is about to unfold in Russia, and the reward is a free 2.5-acre plot of land. The catch? The land will be in Siberia and north—apparently, you can get farther north than Siberia.

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill that will allow free
settlement in the country’s remote East, the 3.9 million square miles stretching from Siberia to the Arctic all the way to Alaska. To put the remoteness in perspective, there are only about 1.8 people per square mile.

The Pertinent Details:
- Only Russian citizens are able to apply, but to become a Russian citizen, you can marry a Russian, maintain a taxable income of $146,000 or release a ton of NSA transcripts.
- Online applicants can select exactly where they intend to live online.
- Individuals will receive a 2.5-acre tract of land. Families of five will receive 12 acres.
- You’ll have five years to put your land to use—that can be as a farm, home, anything taxable.

Unlike the U.S.version of Manifest Destiny, wrought with the guide of God and exceptionalism, the Russian rendition of the land-grab is pretty simple: The government wants Russians to realize the potential of the East. That potential can be anything, be it for farming, building a home or mining for gold and hoping to create an Arctic rendition of San Francisco. It doesn’t seem to matter.

Government officials are optimistic—maybe insanely so—the scheme will bring some 36 million people to the region, and their hope is that settlers will congregate near the Chinese border where the Kremlin apparently fears a possible Chinese annex, seeing as 90 million Chinese live near the area.

One Chinese businessman told Reuters, "I think the Russians need to understand that if they don't allow Chinese investment or Japanese investment or Korean investment here, they will actually lose the place."

Who would’ve thought the renowned land for prisoners would become the land of opportunity? Don’t answer that, Australia.

Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.

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