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With Sanctions, Russia Becomes Crimea's Sole Investor

Published: August 1, 2014 (Issue # 1822)



  • The scenic coastline of the Crimea region, where more than $18 billion is to be spent on upgrading infrastructure.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Under the weight of the latest round of European Union sanctions, the contested territory of Crimea will become an even greater burden to the beleaguered Russian budget than had been expected.

The EU on Wednesday imposed new sanctions directed specifically at Crimea, banning European investors from participating in infrastructure, telecommunications, transport, energy, as well as hydrocarbon and minerals extraction projects in the region.

Following the decision, Russian officials on Thursday presented soaring new estimates on how much money will be required over the next six years to support the territory, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March to international condemnation.

Oleg Savelyev, head of the recently created Crimean Development Ministry, said Thursday that 658 billion rubles ($18.4 billion) will be needed through 2020 to develop Crimea's infrastructure, Interfax reported.

Almost a third of that vast sum, or 247 billion rubles ($6.9 billion), must be channeled to building a bridge across the Kerch Strait, creating the first direct road and rail connection with Russia's mainland there, Savelyev said, speaking at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.

Contradicting earlier reports, Kozak said that the bridge, which will be the most expensive one ever built in Russia, is now to be funded on state money alone. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year, he added.

Previously, government officials had said that private investors might participate in the project through a public-private partnership scheme. Return on investment could have come from tolls levied for passage across the bridge, but officials were divided on whether a charge should apply as there is currently no free alternative for crossing the strait.

Attracting private investors to other infrastructure projects, be they foreign or domestic, will now be more difficult following the sanctions, which have limited the funding options and international business prospects of Crimean ventures. The state will now be left with the option of either opening up its own coffers even wider or luring Russian investors with generous benefits.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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