No. 593.
Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard.

No. 118.]

Sir: A few days after the promulgation of the Russian tariff on iron, steel, etc., mentioned in my dispatch No. 115, there was published a new and greatly enhanced tariff on foreign coal and coke. The rates for the Baltic and Gulf of Finland ports are practically prohibitory; at the B1ack Sea ports they are not so high. There, has just now been published an imperial ukase relative to the requisition and holding of real estate by foreigners in Russia. The case seems to have been framed and approved March 14–28 last, but or some reason was promulgated only four or five days ago.

I herewith inclose a, printed copy (in French) of the ukase, and also a translation thereof.

I am etc.,

Geo. V. N. Lothrop,
[Inclosure in No. 118.—Imperial ukase relative to the acquisition and holding of real estate by for eigners—Translation.]

To the Senate directing:

Since 1864 a whole series of legislative measures have been promulgated tending to consolidate the Russian landed property in the western frontier zone of the Empire, and to assimilate this zone to the other parts of the Empire. We have now seen it to establish, temporarily and in accordance with the above-mentioned measures, as also in view of their ulterior development, some special regulations relating to the acquisition by foreign subjects of real estate (Mens immeubles), either in fee or for limited term, in certain provinces of the western zone of Russia.

In virtue of the proceedings and conformably with the conclusions of the committee of the ministers, we have ordered and order as follows:

In the ten provinces of the Kingdom of Poland, as in the provinces of Bessarabia, Vilna, Vitchok, Volhynia, Grodno, Kief, Kovno, Courland, Livonia, Minsk, and Podolia, foreign subjects can not henceforth acquire in any way whatever, or on any lawful condition whatever, either general or local, outside of the ports and towns (with the exception of the cases provided for by article 3 of the present ukase) any proprietary right in real estate, or any right of enjoyment therein independent of the general right of property and resulting from special leasing or farming out.
  • Note I.—In the provinces of the Kingdom of Poland it is also forbidden to foreign subjects to administer real estate situated outside of the towns, by means of their holding power of attorney or as stewards (directors).
  • Note II.—The restriction of the right of foreign subjects, established by article 1, relating to the possession and enjoyment of real estate situated out of the ports, and towns, does not extend to the hiring of houses, lodgings, and country houses for their temporary use and personal residence.
In the localities indicated by article 1 of the present ukase, foreign subjects can secure payment of sums due to them by accepting real estate as pledge, but the guaranties of this kind and in general the recovery of debts by foreigners can not enable them to acquire the property given in security nor put them in enjoyment of it as of actual ownership. (Judicial code of the Emperor Alexander II, civil procedure, articles 1063, 1064, 1129, 1171, 1173, 1175, and 1209; civil laws of the provinces of the Kingdom of Poland, articles 2071, 2072, and 2085–2091; local law of the Baltic provinces, civil section, articles 1336, 1412, and 1457.)
In regard to the rights of foreign subjects inheriting real estate situated out of the ports and towns, the following restrictions are established for the districts enumerated in article 1:
Inheritance in direct line descending and between husband and wife, of property left by a deceased foreign subject is legal if the heir has established his residence in Russia previous to the promulgation of the present ukase.
In all other cases of inheritance, either by virtue of established laws or by virtue of testamentary disposition, the foreign subject is held to sell to a Russian subject within the space of three years the property inherited by him.
In case of non-execution of paragraph B, the property inherited is taken in trust by administrative measure of the provincial council, and sold at public auction by the respective provincial chamber. The product of this sale, after deducting the expenses of the trust, is handed over to the heir.
The restrictive action indicated in the paragraphs B. and C. of the preceding article extends also to cases of acquisition by foreign subjects of property rights in real estate in virtue of acts done prior to the promulgation of the present ukase, if the proprietor has not yet entered upon the actual enjoyment of the property acquired by him.
Acts and contracts concluded according to the law established for a specified period, and in virtue of which foreign subjects acquired, in the localities enumerated in article 1, prior to the promulgation of the present ukase, proprietary rights or the enjoyment of real estate out of the ports and towns, can not, this delay having once expired, be either renewed or extended beyond the contracts indicated in the Note II of article 1 and in article 2 of the present ukase.
The operation of the preceding articles extends to associations, commercial and industrial companies, and societies (firms) formed by virtue of foreign laws, even when they may have been authorized to transact business within the limits of Russia.
Any transaction concluded with the object of infringement or evasion of the present ukase is null and void.
If any transaction, such as mentioned in article 7, is discovered either by the general, local, or by the provincial authority, the governor-general or the governor of the province, after having gathered all the necessary information, which the tribunals and all the authorities and functionaries are obliged to furnish him, is to bring suit by the ministry specially charged (the court of judges for the kingdom of Poland, the substitutes of the quaestors for Livonia and Courland), to annul the transaction or act impeached. Suits-of this kind are to be tried according to the special rules framed for prosecutions brought by the state administrations.

The senate directing is charged with the execution of these presents.


(Messager officiel.)