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Over 130 tourist facilities in Crimea to be nationalised

March 19, 2014, 22:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 19, /ITAR-TASS/. More than 130 tourist facilities in Crimea, which seceded from Ukraine and rejoined Russia this week, will be nationalised, the Russian Union of Travel Industry said on Wednesday, March 19, citing Crimean Minister of Resorts and Tourism Yelena Yurchenko.

These include 119 state-owned tourist accommodation facilities, the international children’s summer camp Artek, 17 holiday houses, a therapeutic mud company, Sechenov Institute, and 35 local utilities companies.

Crimea’s State Property Fund has been instructed to take inventory of the property as soon as possible and determine the agencies to be responsible for the tourist facilities. The Russian and Crimean authorities will then discuss them as potential projects for investment.

Yurchenko said large amounts of money would be invested in the industry and the number of modern and comfortable tourist facilities in Crimea would increase by 120 as a minimum.

The State Council (parliament) of the Republic of Crimea, which proclaimed independence from Ukraine in a referendum on March 16 and signed a reunification treaty with Russia, has authorised measures to protect nationalised Ukrainian state property and compile a register of the republic’s property.

“The State Council instructed the Property Fund of the Republic of Crimea to start taking inventory and compiling a register of republican property immediately,” the press service of the Crimean parliament said.

The Fund was also instructed to pool efforts with the heads of the nationalised Ukrainian enterprises and organisations in order to “ensure proper protection of the property belonging to the Republic of Crimea.”

At an urgent session on Monday, the Crimean parliament adopted a resolution on Crimea’s independence and ruled that all Ukrainian state property on its territory would become “state property of the Republic of Crimea.”

Institutions, enterprises and other organisations created by Ukraine or with its participation will also become “institutions, enterprises and other organisations established by the Republic of Crimea.”

The Crimean parliament ordered nationalisation of the Chernomorneftegaz oil and gas company, the Ukrtransgaz gas transportation company and the oil supply company in Feodosia.

These enterprises have been nationalised “for the purpose of ensuring environmental and energy security, creating conditions for the production, storage and transportation of hydrocarbons in Crimea, energy supply to the residents of Crimea, and unhindered operation of critical facilities,” the press service said.

Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov reiterated earlier that private property and banks would not be nationalised in Crimea. “We will only make the decision on health resorts, real estate and other property owned by the Ukrainian state. This issue will be addressed by a working group after the referendum [on Crimea’s status to be held on March 16,” Aksyonov said.

Much will depend on “how the state of Ukraine acts,” he said. If the Ukrainian authorities cut off electricity or take other steps against Crimea, its authorities will regard this as an act of sabotage, Aksyonov said. “Future decisions on Ukraine’s real estate [on the peninsula] will depend on that,” he said.

The Crimean authorities plan to nationalise the oil and gas company Chernomorneftegaz, the railroad and Ukraine’s health resorts on the peninsula.

“We are talking about nationalisation of Chernomorneftegaz and all of its assets, including drilling rigs that are working at sea off Crimea. This company will be proclaimed a republican company,” First Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea Rustam Temirgaliyev said.

The Crimean authorities will also nationalise the railroad on the peninsula and several health resorts that belong to Ukrainian ministries and agencies.

“The property of private companies and individuals will remain in their ownership. Our only request to them is to reregister their ownership rights in accordance with Russian legislation,” Temirgaliyev said.

Chernomorneftegaz increased gas production in 2013 by 40.6 percent to 1.67 bcm and plans to produce 3 bcm of gas by 2015.

The company also produces and explores for hydrocarbons in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and develops two gas condensate, seven gas and one oil deposits on the peninsula. It has 17 deposits on its books. It also owns the gas transportation system and an underground gas storage facility.

Italian ENI and French EdF are Chernomorneftegaz’ partners under a production sharing agreement for four offshore blocks in Crimea.

The Crimean authorities are also planning to nationalise the Ukrainian fleet on the peninsula along with several state-owned mineral extraction facilities, Prime Minister Aksyonov said.

“The Ukrainian fleet in Sevastopol will be nationalised in full. We are not going to let their ships out. We have also blocked the exit for Chernomorneftegaz [oil and gas producing company],” he said.

This is not the complete list of assets to be nationalised, he said. “We will also make decisions on solar power plants. They will be put on the books of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” Aksyonov said.

He stressed, however, that nationalisation would not affect private property.

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