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18 march

Crimea — Seven Years Since Back Home

H.E. Mr Nikolay R.Kudashev, Russian Ambassador to India: Today, on March 18 we celebrate the 7th anniversary of the Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Seven years ago, on March 16, the people of Crimea exercised their right to self-determination guaranteed by the UN Charter and the Declaration on Principles of International Law. Thus, when the Crimeans expressed their relevant commitment at the referendum, on March 18, 2014, the Agreement on the Accession of the Republic of Crimea in the Russian Federation and on Forming New Constituent Entities within the Russian Federation was signed (for more details visit the official infromation portal).

After all these years, it is becoming increasingly clear that there was no alternative to the decision taken by the Crimean people through a free expression of their will, and that it was the only correct decision that could have been taken in the tense situation around the peninsula. Today, the structural integration of the Republic of Crimea (RC) and the federal city of Sevastopol into the Russian Federation has already been finalized, and Crimea has got new opportunities for development.

Despite the challenging legacy of the period when Crimea was a part of Ukraine that led to significant decrease in key areas, and notwithstanding the Western sanctions, the peninsula's social and economic situation is steadily improving. Though this region is currently aligning its indicators with all-Russia average ones, its growth rates are among the highest in the country. Positive developments are noted in almost all sectors. Regional budget revenue is persistently increasing (it has tripled since 2014), real estate and industry are gaining momentum, agriculture is recovering, and traditionally important resort and tourism business is flourishing.

More to say, since the Crimea's reunion with Russia, real wages of people working in the public sector as well as pensions and allowances have increased and approached the national average. That was an outcome of implementation of the Federal Special Purpose Programme for the social and economic development of the Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol until 2024 with a budget of about 1 trillion roubles (around 1 trillion rupees). It aims to redress imbalances in regional development, upgrade the living standards and the rate of economic growth. The main focus areas are the energy complex, water supply and transport infrastructure (upgrading the road system, operationalizing ports and ensuring reliable connectivity with mainland Russia).

In response to the "energy blockade" of Crimea by Ukraine imposed in 2015, interim schemes were promptly established to supply power to peninsula: hundreds of mobile higher-capacity generators were brought in, the so-called “energy bridge” was created – cables and a cross-country twin gas pipelines were extended from Kuban’ through the Kerch Strait.

The only problem not yet completely resolved is the safe and secure water supply, which was cut by Kiev in 2014. In order to cope with that issue somehow, 100 kilometers of new water pipelines have been constructed. By 2030, a programme with a budget of 36 billion roubles to improve water quality is expected to be carried out as well.

Against all of the odds, Crimean economy is growing steadily. In 2020, the number of attracted investments reached more than 20 billion roubles. Investors show firm interest in the fields of industry, construction, agriculture, resorts and tourism, with over 1,760 investment agreements signed with the declared value about 150 billion roubles. More to say, 1,704 registered economic entities engaged in the Crimea’s Free Economic Zone (FEZ). By the way, the FEZ participants are covered by a tax incentive programme until 2040. To learn more about investing in Crimea visit web-portal invest-in-crimea.ru.

Since 2015, over 950 kilometers of roads were repaired all over the peninsula, and 2,000 more kilometers of roads are to be upgraded by 2024. Road traffic via the Crimean Bridge (which is one of the longest in Russia and Europe – 19 km) along with the Crimean railway bridge, opened in 2018 and 2019, respectively, as well as Tavrida Highway (Kerch – Sevastopol) launched in August 2020, has significantly benefited the socio-economic development of the region.

Positive atmosphere of inter-ethnic and inter-confessional relations continues to prevail on peninsula. Federal and regional authorities are dedicated to promote cultural, religious and other interests of all national minorities, including Crimean Tatars. Moreover, the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea established a clear and democratic legal framework for development, protection and use of the three state languages – Russian, Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian.

To conclude, I would like to emphasize that Crimea is one of the most beautiful locations in the Eastern Europe. The rich heritage left from the Greek and Roman periods, Imperial Russia and the Soviet era together with its natural wonders offer unforgettable experience. We welcome everyone to visit the peninsula to benefit from its vast economic opportunities and to enjoy its natural colorful beauty (to explore tourist opportunities of Crimea visit travelcrimea.com). The Indian tourists and businessmen are warmly encouraged to join this success story, and there is no doubt it would contribute to increasing the bilateral trade and investment cooperation, as well as strengthen people-to-people ties in a big way!