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Land Auction Held in Moscow

October 30, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) _ A private land auction was held Friday in Moscow for the first time since the 1917 revolution, and a top city official said the practice might be cautiously phased in.

The land that was sold was in not in Moscow, but in the southern region of Saratov, which introduced agricultural land sales earlier this year. Such sales are illegal in most of the country.

Forty-one lots of rural land in Saratov were sold at the Moscow auction, which was opened by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

One of his top deputies, Oleg Tolkachev, told reporters that there are tentative plans to begin selling land in one district of Moscow, and that such an auction could provide a model for a broader sale of land in the capital.

However, he added, ``Moscow lands are not deer pastures,″ and the city needs to carefully consider the ramifications of selling land containing the infrastructure of municipal utilities, such as water mains and electrical cables.

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