YALTA, August 14, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with members of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house in the Crimean resort city of Yalta on Thursday to deliver a big speech ahead of a new political season in Russia and forthcoming regional elections due on September 14, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
“An open conversation will be held with lawmakers on key issues of the country’s life,” the Kremlin press service said. “Special attention will be focused on practical party work in the present-day competitive environment.”
Taking part in the meeting with the president will be Prime Minister and chairman of Russia’s ruling United Russia party Dmitry Medvedev, State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin and a number of federal ministers.
Later on Thursday, the Russian president will meet with men of culture to discuss issues of Crimea’s integration into Russia’s cultural space. “The agenda is rich and includes various formats,” Peskov said.
In March 2014, following the political crisis and illegal change of power in Ukraine, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol’s City Council adopted independence declarations. On March 16, a referendum was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, which revealed that 96.77% of voters in Crimea and 95.6% of voters in Sevastopol were in favor of reunification with Russia. On March 18, President Putin signed treaties on admitting the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in the Russian Federation. These treaties were later approved by both houses of the Russian parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council.
Much efforts are being taken to integrate Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia’s economic, political and legal space. Over a short transition period, the Russian national currency - the rouble - has superseded Ukraine’s currency unit, the hryvnia. Measures are taken to raise wages and pensions in Crimea to Russia’s average level. The court system and power bodies have been formed. Russian banks and cellular operators are launching their businesses in Crimea. A project is being developed to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to supplement the existing ferry service between Crimea and Russia’s southern Krasnodar Territory.
On August 11, the Russian government adopted a federal programme of Crimea’s socio-economic development till the year 2020 of 681 billion roubles (18.9 billion U.S. dollars).