Residence and Work : Property and Privatisation in Azerbaijan and Ukraine

Deema Kaneff Lale Yalçın-Heckmann
Associate Coordinator REALEURASIA

In this paper we will focus on two different ways of carrying out land privatisation - through residence, as displayed in the Azerbaijani case, and work, as in the Ukraine case. (When relevant we will also bring in the case of Bulgaria, where land privatisation was carried out in a third way - via restitution.) Our intention is to compare the different forms of privatisation and investigate the consequences of this for property relations both within our respective areas as well as between them.

We begin with a general description of our respective research areas in order to emphasise the main structural similarities and differences between the two research sites. In both cases land privatisation was undertaken at a similar time, however the way in which it was carried out was quite different. In the case of Azerbaijan, land was privatised on the basis of residence: all villagers were entitled to the same amount of land in the place where they were legally registered. In the Ukraine case work in the previous collectives provided the legitimate criteria for entitlement to land (again, every individual received the same amount independent of the period worked). These different ways of carrying out privatisation have led to very different patterns of agricultural production in the postsocialist period. In the former situation the socialist collectives have disappeared altogether and individual households now farm their private land plots both for the purposes of domestic subsistence and for market sale. In the Ukraine case the collective form of agricultural production has continued, with a number of private cooperatives still working large tracts of land for their members. In both countries, a small number of private farmers whose production is purely for market sale have also developed.

This material provides the basis for asking a number of questions. We explore the new divisions and conflicts that have emerged as a result of privatisation and ask whether they can be seen as a consequence of the particular form of privatisation that was applied. We also look at the new inequalities in the community - who are the new wealthy, who are the new poor, that is, the 'winners' and 'losers' of land privatisation?

Bigger questions must also be posed: why have two republics of the former Soviet Union, which presumably used similar models of agricultural production during the socialist times (sovkhoz and kolhoz collective farming), adopted such different means of carrying out land privatisation? And what are the consequences of this for emerging property relations?

Go to Editor View