No property can be expropriated in Russia for government or city improvements except in accordance with the Russian laws or by imperial ukase.

The laws governing the expropriation of property are contained in the Civil Laws of Russia, Volume X, paragraphs 575 et seq., and are divided into two sections, the substance of which is as follows:

I. The expropriation of land in the provinces for government requirements, such as the building of railways or military follows this procedure:

The Ministry of Ways of Communication or the Ministry of War prepare a project of the railroad, fortress, barracks, etc., showing what land must be expropriated. The plans are presented to the Council of Ministers, and when passed upon are forwarded to the Council of the Empire, which, having approved the project, presents it to the Emperor, who issues an ukase for its execution.

A special committee is then appointed by the Council of the Empire to decide what amount must be allowed for the expropriation of the land required.

The land owners are informed that certain portions or the whole of their property are required by the government, and they are invited to present to the committee a valuation of their property. If the committee finds the valuation reasonable, it may settle the matter at once; if it finds the estimate presented unreasonable, it appoints experts to make a real valuation. In making the real valuation these experts invite the landlords of property in the neighborhood and take into consideration the average price of land in that district, the price paid for the land, the improvements made on the land, and the income derived from the land in question, as well as other local conditions. Having arrived at what they consider a fair estimate, the experts report to the Council of the Empire, which decides the amount to be paid for such land, and the matter is thus ended. An imperial ukase being above the law, there is no court to which an appeal can be presented. It frequently occurs that the government offers in exchange for the land expropriated other land, sometimes in larger quantity, farther away, and the offer is accepted, in which case the government waives the stamp and registration dues for the new title deed.

II. The method of expropriation of land and household property in cities is as follows:

The manner of procedure for the expropriation of land and household property in the two capitals, namely, Moscow and St. Petersburg, is the same as that for railways and other government requirements. In the other cities of Russia, while plans must be presented, in the same manner as above stated, to the Council of the Empire, the execution of the plans, when approved, is left to the provincial city authorities and zemstvos, who in like manner must come to a fair understanding with the land owners or householders according to the laws mentioned above. They must take into consideration the price for which the land or property was purchased, the value of property in the immediate neighborhood, improvements which may have been made on the property, and lastly the income derived from such property.