While foreign land ownership has become a post-Cold War security concern for East-Central Europe, it has been neglected in security studies focused on more traditional topics. This article offers a comparative analysis of: (1) the post-1989 development of policy towards land sales to non-citizens, (2) why foreign land ownership has been the most controversial in Hungary and especially Poland, and (3) why foreign ownership can be a useful tool for nationalists. Mining the land issue ultimately strikes a deeper tension between foreign-driven pressures to liberalize land markets within a pan-European free market and the still-strong belief that states should control land sales for the good of the nation.

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