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Cabinet Outlines Costs of Crimea

Published: March 25, 2014 (Issue # 1802)



  • Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting on Monday dedicated to the socioeconomic development of Crimea.
    Photo: Government.ru

The costly consequences of expanding Russia's territory became clearer Monday when Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev revealed a Crimea to-do list for the government and its corporations.

Russia will need to take care of entitlements and services ranging from retirement pensions to tax rebates to electricity supply in a peninsula that has no overland links with its new sovereign and used to be part of a different country, Ukraine, just a few days ago.

"It is the first time in the history of contemporary Russia that the Cabinet has to solve a problem that is so massive and multidimensional," Medvedev said. "It is a good way to show the potential of the contemporary Russian state as well as its managerial skills."

Crimea formally became a Russian region on March 18 after a referendum that remains unrecognized in the West, and that has brought about a string of sanctions slapped by the U.S. and European Union on Russian government officials, businesspeople and a bank described as the preferred financial institution of President Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

In one of the most expensive measures Medvedev announced Monday, the government could spend 36 billion rubles ($1 billion) this year on getting Crimean pensions up to par with the rest of Russia. About a third of the peninsula's population of 2 million people are pensioners.

The impact of the money inflow could be so strong as to send local consumer prices climbing, Medvedev warned. He called for a gradual schedule of increasing the payouts.

At the same time, other welfare benefits to be provided by Russia that Crimeans used to have from the Ukrainian government will remain at the existing level for a transitional period that ends in January next year, Medvedev said.

"Nobody should lose anything," he said.

In another expense, Medvedev said that the government would raise the salaries of workers in Crimea paid from the state budget to match the average Russian level for these types of jobs. He referred primarily to teachers, healthcare workers and staff at museums and libraries.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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