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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 12:00 GMT
Property sell-off by Russian army
Russian soldiers parade in Red Square in Moscow, 9 May 2006, during celebrations of the end of World War II.
More than 100,000 military families are waiting for new housing
The Russian army is set to raise money by auctioning off some of the property it owns, according to reports in the Russian press.

Newspapers in Moscow say the auction will include mansions, unoccupied land, and even whole towns.

The purpose of the sell-off is to raise money to build much-needed modern housing for army officers.

No fewer than 122,400 military families are said to be waiting for self-contained accommodation.

Some have been on waiting lists for years.

Under the hammer

The daily paper Izvestia says more than 20 properties near Moscow, St Petersburg, Kalininigrad and Vladivostock will be up for grabs in the first auction, on 8 April.

Going under the hammer will be "fabulous mansions and guest houses, dilapidated garrison towns, unused shooting ranges and vast tracts of neglected land, on which no human has set foot for years".

The property owned by the army is extensive, and its total value has been estimated at 300 billion roubles (6bn).

But there is less need for garrison towns, now that army numbers have dropped from four million men to 1.1 million in recent years.

Military spending, though, is on the increase, with this year's total expenditure of 35bn set to rise by a quarter in the next two years.

President-elect Dmitry Medvedev has identified the improvement of housing as one of his four "national projects".

One army officer, who refused to give his name, responded to the auction plan by saying: "I didn't know the army had anything left to sell. I thought it had all been stolen long ago."



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