Food security in Russia is impossible without bread, or rather without wheat, which is our strategic product. “We have grains a dime a dozen,” some will say, “why worry about it?” However, large reserves of grain “fall” on us for a reason, but thanks to the work of experienced breeders who develop varieties with record yields. Such specialists should bask in glory and honor! All conditions for work must be created for them… But for more than 20 years, scientists have survived, not getting out of court, protecting their experimental fields from officials who take away land either for the construction of Skolkovo or for private construction. The MK columnist looked into the crisis situation.
This is not the first time I am writing about the situation about the Nemchinovka Research Institute of Agriculture (now it has the status of a federal research center).
Scientists grow wheat in their experimental fields, then supplying 30 regions in central Russia with varietal seeds. The seeds then produce generous harvests of grain and leguminous crops annually on fields with a total area of 8 million hectares.
To imagine the amount of work carried out by FRC breeders, we list only a few of the winter soft wheat varieties they have created over the past 20 years: “Nemchinovskaya-17”, “Nemchinovskaya-24”, “Moskovskaya-40”, “Nemchinovskaya-57”, “Nemchinovskaya- 85″ “Galina”, “Moskovskaya-56″… They contained up to 16 percent protein, which is significantly more than that of competitor varieties from Germany and France, and in terms of yield they are not inferior to foreign ones. The potential of “Nemchinovskaya-17”, “Nemchinovskaya-24”, “Moskovskaya-40”, “Moskovskaya-56” in the conditions of the Central Non-Black Earth Region is up to 140 centners per hectare.
But officials do not appreciate those who feed Russia with bread, as if they themselves do not feed on this bread…
The sad story of the confiscation of experimental lands from breeders dates back to 2011, when, on instructions from the president of the country (he was then Dmitry Medvedev) and a government decree, more than 500 hectares of land of the institute and the Nemchinovka educational enterprise were “plucked off” from them. It seemed like it was a noble start – the Skolkovo innovation center. For the sake of the younger generation of scientists, who were going to be raised for the benefit of our country, the breeders made room – they agreed to move to more distant lands of the experimental farm of the FSUE Tolstopaltsevo, to the village of Sokolovo (this is now Moscow), and the FSUE Poultry Production Enterprise “Ptichnoe” , located in the Naro-Fominsk region. Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Bagrat Sandukhadze told me about this at one time.
In Sokolovo, “Nemchinovka” was no longer entitled to 500, but only 370 hectares and 5.6 billion rubles for the construction of a production base in a new location, and in “Ptichny” – about 900 hectares.
However, not everything that was promised was delivered. Despite the fact that the breeders immediately sowed grain on the lands allotted to them, they did not have time to legally secure the arable land for themselves. And in 2014, Ptichnoye went bankrupt… It was as if officials were waiting for this, who as a result confiscated all the farm’s lands, including those allocated to Nemchinovka, to the treasury of the Russian Federation (as if this treasury was not interested in improving the characteristics domestic grain). 9 years after Nemchinovka’s legal proceedings with officials, the lands were never transferred to them. The former experimental lands have become overgrown with weeds and trees.
Now let’s move to the village of Sokolovo with its 370 hectares, promised to scientists in return for the fields given over to Skolkovo. Remember, they were promised 5.6 billion in lifting money? In reality, only 500 million rubles were allocated, which was enough only for the first stage of construction: land reclamation preparation, construction of roads, household premises, buildings for seed preparation, hangars for storing equipment, and laboratories. This made it possible to immediately sow the original seeds of grain crops. The scientists worked very efficiently: several new varieties were obtained at the new site. But in 2014, almost simultaneously with Ptichny, the Tolstopaltsevo Federal State Unitary Enterprise, where they all grew, went bankrupt. Literally a few days were not enough for the timely signing of the acts of transfer of part of the lands to “Nemchinovka” and their registration in Rosreestr… Then it took 7 (!) years to sort out the transfer. The Federal Property Management Agency eventually transferred 338 of the 370 hectares of land to Nemchinovka for management.
Of the 338 hectares transferred to us for arable land, only 219 hectares turned out to be suitable,” Sergei Voronov, the current director of the Nemchinovka Federal Research Center, sums up the many years of struggle for land. – Yes, and of these, only 209 hectares have been left to us so far.
-Where did the rest go?
Two land plots with a total area of 32 hectares were transferred to the Housing Construction Development Fund by decision of the Government Commission for the Promotion of Housing Development in 2015. Until recently, we were fighting with the Federal Property Management Agency for another plot – 11 hectares in Sokolovo. In 2018, an error was allegedly discovered there. “Look,” they told us at the Federal Property Management Agency, “according to the Unified State Register of Real Estate, there is a building on this land plot that belongs to a third party.” “What other building?!” – we were surprised, “We have been sowing grain there for seven years, there is no building there!” After that, we brought representatives of the Federal Property Management Agency and the cadastral chamber to the site – they saw with their own eyes that there was no mythical “third party with the house” there. The situation seemed to have swung in our favor, but in 2022 the Federal Property Management Agency, which apparently stubbornly refused to give us the land for operational management, did the unimaginable.
They divided the plot originally promised to us into two parts: 10 and 1 hectares. The cadastral number was changed for the larger number, and what remains is the so-called “inconvenience”: continuous ravines, unsuitable for arable land.
– Have you tried to challenge this in court?
– Certainly. But we are losing them – the court does not even take into account the fact that on that 10-hectare plot of land for which we are fighting, there is our concrete fence! The Federal Property Management Agency takes the position that it is the owner of the land and disposes of the site as it wishes. It turns out that the fence belongs to Nemchinovka, but the land under the fence no longer belongs.
On a plot of 10 hectares, which is now being taken away from scientists, technologies for cultivating new varieties of winter wheat are still being developed. In 2023, scientists, despite the oppression, surpassed themselves – they created the newest variety of winter wheat, “Vasilievna,” which on the plot showed 158 (!) centners per hectare, and this without loss of grain quality! But its fate seems to be of little concern to officials, who seem to have set themselves a goal: to finally destroy the former Nemchinovka Agricultural Research Institute. In my opinion, in modern conditions, when the country really needs its new varieties of wheat, this is tantamount to sabotage.
Commentary from the Federal Property Management Agency: “In February 2022, a land plot with cadastral number 77:18:0190209:316 was provided with the right of permanent (indefinite) use to the Federal State Institution “Military Unit 55002.” In November 2022, the “FIC “Nemchinovka” filed an application with the Moscow Arbitration Court to recognize as illegal the decision of the Federal Property Management Agency to refuse to grant the FIC “Nemchinovka” the right of permanent (indefinite) use of the specified land plot. By the decision of the Arbitration Court of the city of Moscow, left unchanged by the decision of the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal and the decision of the Arbitration Court of the Moscow District in this case, the satisfaction of the stated demands of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “FIC “Nemchinovka” was completely denied. The courts came to the conclusion that the provision of a land plot with the right of permanent (indefinite) use to the Federal State Institution “Military Unit 55002” was carried out in accordance with the requirements of the law and does not violate the property rights of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “FRC “Nemchinovka””.