MOSCOW, April 17 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Crimea and Sevastopol - former Ukrainian regions that recently joined Russia - have a good potential for development of tourism and industry.
“Crimea is tourism and recreation but not only that. It has a good industrial and agricultural potential, we will develop it,” Putin said during a live televised Q&A session.
The Russian leader said the region has viable enterprises that require modernization and additional capitalization. “We will certainly do that,” he assured the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol.
Putin also said the Crimean Peninsula has promising port infrastructure and agriculture. He, however, admitted that compared to 1990, agricultural production dropped 60 percent.
“Agricultural production also needs additional investment,” the Russian president said.
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 the new Ukrainian authorities, which were brought to power amid riots after a coup in Ukraine in February.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11. They held a referendum on March 16, in which 96.77 percent of Crimeans and 95.6 percent of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. The voter turnout stood at 83.01 percent in Crimea and 89.5 percent in Sevastopol.
Putin signed the reunification deals March 18. The deals were subsequently approved by Russia's parliament. On March 21, the Russian president signed the federal constitutional law on establishment of two new constituent members - the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol - in the Russian Federation.
Crimea has some 2,000 large, midsized and small enterprises employing about 100,000 people. The processing industry accounts for more than 65 percent of the overall volume of industrial production, the mining industry for some 14 percent, and enterprises manufacturing and distributing electric power, gas, steam and conditioned air for about 20 percent.
The key branches of industry are mechanical engineering, including agricultural, as well as shipbuilding, the chemical, mining, light and food industry, including winemaking.
A total of 38 wineries operate in Crimea. They have an aggregate annual production capacity of 264,000 tons of grapes. The overall area of all vineyards totals some 3,000 hectares.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems is actively underway now that Crimea has become part of Russia.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when it was gifted to Ukraine by Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev.