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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

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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