Staunton, July 11 – Since the Anschluss, international investment in Crimean resorts has stopped altogether, and Russian investment there has been minimal, Aleksandr Liyev says, with Russian claims to the contrary being based less on investment as such than as the transfer of property from one Russian owner to another.
Liyev, resorts and tourism minister in Ukraine’s Crimea prior to the illegal Russian occupation, says that “almost 80 percent” of what Moscow claimed were investments in 2015 were in fact “simply the purchase of real estate” whose owners had been forced to sell (segodnya.ua/opinion/alexandrlievcolumn/rossiyskiy-biznes-slushaet-putina-kivaet-no-v-krym-ne-idet-732139.html).
Most of the purchases were of relatively small objects, the former official continues; and consequently even if one accepts that such actions constituted “investments,” there was a decline in the total investment in tourism property in Crimea between 2012 and 2015 of more than 90 percent.
Russian businessmen may bow and scrape when Vladimir Putin tells them to invest in Crimea, but they are pragmatic and know that doing so is a risky enterprise given that the entire world considers the Russian occupation “illegal.” To put money into the peninsula now is to risk losing it.
According to Liyev, the situation in Crimea’s tourist industry obtains “in the banking sphere, in trade, in logistics, in industry and in agriculture,” as well.” And thus it is no surprise that Moscow’s promises are not being met and that Dmitry Medvedev’s acknowledgement that there is no money is the only honest thing one has hear from the Russian capital recently.
The former minister says that the trends this year are no better and that there is no reason to expect any dramatic changes in the out years as well. And that is true not only for Crimeans but also “for all who shouted ‘Crimea is Ours’” since “the cost of [Moscow’s] shameful and stupid actions will now have to be paid by all of Russia, from Kamchatka to Kaliningrad.”
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