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Russia’s targeted program to develop Crimea to receive $21 billion

July 10, 2014, 0:36 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

The program has been adopted, amendments to it will be introduced until August 1

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SIMFEROPOL, July 09, /ITAR-TASS/. A total of 736 billion rubles ($21.7 billion) will be allocated from Russia’s budget in line with the federal targeted program “The social and economic development of the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol until 2020”, Crimea’s acting head Sergey Aksyonov said Wednesday.

Aksyonov on Tuesday attended a Russian government meeting at which the program was discussed.

“The program has been adopted, amendments to it will be introduced until August 1. The overall volume of funds reserved for the program totals 736 billion rubles until 2020,” he said.

“This is six-seven times more than Ukraine gave us until 2020. This will be a guarantee of successful development for the Republic of Crimea, this is a budget of development, aimed to develop infrastructure, the systems of education, healthcare, transport,” Aksyonov said.

“We have a huge potential, we are not speaking of our own funds that we may collect here in the form of taxes. These are funds allocated by the federal government, including for [construction of] a bridge across the Kerch Strait,” he concluded.

At the government meeting dedicated to the discussion of the federal targeted program on development of Crimea and Sevastopol - former Ukrainian regions that recently joined Russia - Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev demanded that the final version of the program be submitted to the government by July 15 or a few days later.

The head of government recalled that the program should first of all outline specific steps to ensure uninterrupted power supplies to the peninsula through building power plants and developing the gas transportation system and the utility infrastructure.

Another aspect the federal targeted program (FTP) should focus on is improvement of the transport sector through reorienting transport corridors to Russia. The largest projects as part of the FTP are construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait and reconstruction of the airport.

Other projects include construction of federal highways and putting the railroad system in order. Medvedev also mentioned construction of modern border-crossing points.

The FTP also envisions measures to develop communications in Crimea and Sevastopol to integrate the peninsula in Russia’s communications environment.

Medvedev also mentioned the necessity to modernize the social sphere, to develop agriculture and tourism.

The overall financing for the FTP is subject to specification, the Russian premier said, adding that expenditures on development of Crimea should not result in reduction of funding for other Russian regions.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said after the government meeting that the draft FTP will be finalized by July 20.

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.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11. They held a referendum on March 16, 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.

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 Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.

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