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Medvedev: Crimea development priority on Russian govt agenda

April 02, 2014, 2:12 UTC+3 GORKI
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GORKI, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Accelerated development of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol will be among priorities during work to draft Russia’s federal budget, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting to discuss the budget for state programs.

Medvedev recalled that the federal budget has since recently been drafted on the basis of a program approach.

“At the previous meeting, I gave instructions that two key priorities should be taken into account during adjustment of state programs: implementation of the May decrees of the Russian president and implementation of measures to develop the Far East,” Medvedev said.

“Now I would like to outline a third priority, which, I think, is evident for you: one of the most important tasks is to develop the Crimean Peninsula: the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol,” he said.

The May decrees on the policy in the economic, social, healthcare and other spheres were signed by President Vladimir Putin shortly after he assumed office in May 2012.

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, signed agreements to reunify with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

The developments followed a coup in Ukraine in February that occurred after months of anti-government protests, which often turned violent. President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns. Crimea’s authorities do not recognize the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian leadership in Kiev. Nor do Russia’s authorities.

Medvedev also said that government officials were able to see what work will have to be carried out in Crimea with their own eyes on Monday, when the premier held a government meeting in Crimea’s capital Simferopol.

“We must work quickly, trying to resolve the most pressing tasks facing Crimea’s economy and the peninsula’s social sphere,” he said.

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.

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

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