President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Vladimir Volfovich, the housing problem has long been one of our biggest problems and unfortunately probably will remain so for some time yet. We have begun building a lot more housing lately, but we need to build decent housing, and one of the programmes the Government proposed, a programme I was involved in, was the programme for construction of individual low-rise homes.
I know that the LDPR also thinks this is the right direction for housing construction. I wanted to discuss with you what you think needs to be done, what draft laws should perhaps be adopted in this area and what we can do to develop individual home construction given the great demand for housing that exists.
Leader of the Ldpr Faction In the State Duma Vladimir Zhirinovsky: The housing issue has always been of prime importance because housing means a roof over one’s head for the whole family. What is positive is that we have an enormous amount of available land. In other countries wars are fought for every square kilometre. I have travelled many times all around our country and land is our wealth. We also have abundant construction materials. Squared beams are the most important material for environmentally friendly housing. The Finns and the Canadians both use them, the technology has already been developed, and there is no reason why we cannot do the same.
Dmitry Medvedev: There are new materials too, not just squared beams but layered materials…
Vladimir Zhirinovsky: Yes, there are materials that require practically no finishing at all.
A law could be passed making it possible to make plots of land available faster if they are to be used for housing construction. Loans should be long-term, up to 50 years (as is the practice in Europe). I met with one of my Belgian colleagues and he said, “The house I live in, it was my grandfather who got the loan and started paying it off. He wasn’t able to pay it off completely, so now it is his grandson who is paying it off”. It works out at 15 years for each generation. In other words, this is a long-term loan and it can be guaranteed. This would bring interest rates down to a minimum.
Dmitry Medvedev: Loans made with the land allocated as collateral.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky: Yes, and the value of the land would fully justify making the loan, therefore the banks will not suffer. In any case, the state can help too, and then we will see families starting to develop. Not even higher education is so important then – people will feel the joy of owning their own homes. This would solve the housing and utilities sector’s problems: people will look after their own homes, paint them, repair them. Add to this a small car of some kind. In India, for example, they are starting to produce cars that cost only $2,000. And that is all.
Dmitry Medvedev: It’s a small car?
Vladimir Zhirinovsky: Very small. We can do likewise, using the Oka or some similar type of car. People will have their own home and their own Oka, and then families will start to develop. People will start having more children because they will need more hands to help with the work, and from childhood people will know what it is to be owners. We have all the right conditions for this. This will make people happy because people want to have something of their own. The first thing of their own that people want is a home, and after that comes everything else: a shop, an office and so on.
Dmitry Medvedev: Then we need to look together at what can be done in terms of legislation to speed up the process of getting available land onto the market so that people can actually obtain it. As you know, the municipal and regional authorities are not always keen to part with land. We need to make them realise that there is no other option and that people must be able to get land for individual home building. We need therefore to reflect together on the series of legislative measures needed to make this happen.