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Russian government plans to increase budget deficit because of need to invest in Crimea

April 10, 2014, 17:35 UTC+3 BERLIN
“I assume that under the current circumstances we can afford to slightly increase the state debt,” the Russian vice-premier says
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Igor Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov

© ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

BERLIN, April 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Vice-Premier Igor Shuvalov said on Thursday that the need to invest in Crimea may force the Russian government to increase the state budget deficit.

“If the country gets two million new people as well as two new territories requiring huge investments, this can hardly be achieved exclusively thanks to re-distribution of government programmes,” Shuvalov, who is attending the international East forum in Berlin, said in an interview with the online edition of Die Welt newspaper.

Shuvalov said that Russia’s state debt, which is the lowest in Europe, was presumably bound to increase.

“I assume that under the current circumstances we can afford to slightly increase this debt,” the Russian vice-premier went on to say. He believes that Russian reserve funds could be another source for financing Crimea.

We are not planning any huge investments at the moment. We do not want to feed on other Russian regions and the Russian government,” Sergey Aksyonov Crimean Prime Minister

“Everything will depend on which of the two options is going to be more profitable,” Shuvalov said.

Meanwhile, Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said on Tuesday, April 8, that the republic did not want to live at the expense of other Russian regions and that budget funds would be spent only on top priority tasks.

“Today, each municipal entity (in Crimea) faces concrete tasks on which the city and district administrations in Crimea are expected to focus their attention,” Aksyonov said, meaning current repairs, preparation for the sowing campaign, the start of a new academic year in schools.

“In short, these are small investments. We are not planning any huge investments at the moment. We do not want to feed on other Russian regions and the Russian government,” Aksyonov told journalists after a conference chaired by Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Kozak in Simferopol on April 8.

According to Aksyonov, the Crimean government is searching for additional resources, including funds that used to be transferred to Ukraine but which would now be an additional source of revenue for the Crimean budget.

“Naturally, we will try to relieve the federal budget from that burden,” the Crimean prime minister said in conclusion.

Aksyonov said that the municipal entities in Crimea had been ordered not to throw all their forces on implementing all investment projects without exception and all outstanding tasks which the republic has not been solving for years.

“The most important thing is to solve the most urgent tasks,” Aksyonov said.

Under a Russian government-approved scheme, 14 Crimean districts and one city, including the federal city of Sevastopol, have been assigned to 16 donor regions and territories of Russia. Special attention should be paid to the normal functioning of utilities and the social sector. The list of patrons include the Voronezh region, the Belgorod region, the Lipetsk region, the Kaluga region, the Vladimir region, the Tula region, the Moscow region and other parts of Russia. The donor regions have been selected with account taken of their economic specialization and budget sufficiency.

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