MOSCOW, April 21. /TASS/. The reunification with Crimea was as important to Russia as the fall of the Berlin Wall was vital to Germany, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.
"There are such milestones in the history of each country, which mark the start of a new epoch. For modern Russia it was the year of 2014," Medvedev said presenting the government's annual report at the State Duma, the parliament's lower house.
He said that 2014 was the Year of Crimea for the whole country.
"Despite its formal post-Soviet borders the Crimean Peninsula always remained our land," Medvedev said.
"I am convinced that every Russian, every responsible politician realised the great importance of this event [Crimea's reunification]," he said.
"Many saw Crimea's return as the restoration of historical justice, the importance and power of which can be compared with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany or the return of Hongkong and Macao to China," he added.
The prime minister said such events "always spark a major geopolitical outcry."
"The unprecedented political and economic pressure is the payment for our position but the authorities and society realised that we there was no other way," he said.
Crimea’s integration into Russia
Russia’s government has completed work on Crimea’s integration in close interaction with the State Duma, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. "The development of Crimea became a purely internal affair of Russia. For the first time in the history of modern Russia the government was facing a task unique in its complexity and scale: to ensure within a brief period of time - by the beginning of this year - full-fledged integration of the new regions into the country’s management, legal and economic system. We have done this," the premier said.
He stressed that the legal framework had been formed for Crimea’s economy and social sphere to work in accordance with Russia's laws. "Together with you, 8 federal constitutional law, 32 federal laws and more than 600 bylaws," the Russian prime minister said.
Medvedev added that the problem of increasing the size of pensions in Crimea had been solved, with payments to pensioners becoming substantially closer to those in Russia. "The introduction of the Russian labor legislation has led to a two-fold increase in the average wages," he said.
Last year, residents of Crimea were granted access to Russia’s social support system, Medvedev noted. "As we promised, benefits and payments provided to residents of Crimea under the Ukrainian legislation have been preserved. Programs have been endorsed to modernize the public health services of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol for a total amount of more than 6 billion rubles, " Medvedev said.