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Crimean government undergoes personnel reshuffle

December 29, 2015, 16:50 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

Crimean Finance Minister Vladimir Levandovskym, Industrial Policy Minister Andrey Skrynnik as well as Sevastopol Legislative Assembly speaker Alexey Chaly have resigned

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Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov and former Crimean Finance Minister Vladimir Levandovsky

Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov and former Crimean Finance Minister Vladimir Levandovsky

© Alexei Pavlishak/ITAR-TASS

SIMFEROPOL, December 29. /TASS/. Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Crimean Finance Minister Vladimir Levandovsky, and a source in the Crimean government told the CrimeaInform news agency that Industrial Policy Minister Andrey Skrynnik tendered his resignation.

"The resignation of Levandovsky Vladimir Petrovich is accepted and he is relieved of his state post of the finance minister of the Republic of Crimea in line with his statement of resignation," says a decree posted on the government website.

"The post of Crimea’s industrial policy minister, until he is appointed, will be held by First Deputy Minister Konstantin Ravich," CrimeaInform said. There have however been no official confirmations of the report.

Meanwhile, Skrynnik told TASS he will not comment on reports on his resignation. As regards Skrynnik, in June 2014, he was mentioned in a fraud case. Later there have been no reports that law enforcement bodies have any claims against the minister.

Earlier, Sevastopol Legislative Assembly speaker Alexey Chaly announced his resignation, TASS learned from his advisor Alexey Filimonov.

On Monday, during an annual news conference Aksyonov announced personnel changes in the Crimean government. He said checks are being conducted regarding some officials and "information is passed to law enforcement bodies."

A few ministers were replaced in Crimea this year. In mid-summer, State Council deputies dismissed Resorts and Tourism Minister Yelena Yurchenko over unsatisfactory work of the department to prepare for the 2015 tourist season.

After an attack on a first aid station in Simferopol, Health Minister Alexander Mogilevsky resigned.

Energy crisis

After the energy crisis started, Aksyonov dismissed Fuel and Energy Minister Sergey Yegorov, as well as his deputy.

Crimea was left without power overnight to November 22 after unknown assailants blew up electricity pylons in Ukraine’s Kherson Region. An energy saving regime was imposed on the peninsula, with many enterprises suspending their activity; rolling blackouts started in all inhabited localities.

The situation stabilized after the launch on December 2 of the first thread of the "energy bridge" from Russia’s southern Krasnodar Territory, which gave the peninsula an additional 250 MW of electric power. The commissioning of the second thread of the "energy bridge" on December 15 increased its power to 400 MW.

Another two threads are to be commissioned in spring, which will make it possible to make Crimea independent of Ukrainian electric energy. Besides, the construction of two basic thermal electric power plants with the power of 940 MW started.

The work of all officials in conditions of emergency in Crimea is being currently inspected by prosecutors.

Freeze of funds

Earlier, a Russian government source told TASS that the Russian Economic Development Ministry and Finance Ministry have been instructed to submit proposals on punishment of Crimea’s authorities over a freeze of funds from the federal budget allocated for the region’s development.

This was the way Moscow reacted to Aksyonov’s statement that out of funds to implement the Russian Federal Target Program on Crimean Development, envisioned by the federal budget for 2015, the republic "has received none."

There is no talk yet on dismissal of top Crimean officials over the failure to implement the Federal Target Program in time, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak told journalists on December 21. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the current problems between the government of the Russian Federation and Crimea’s authorities should not be presented as crises.

Crimea’s reunification with Russia

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Crimea had joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.

In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.

According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.

Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.

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