Monday, March 25, 2019

Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea has Cost Russia 23.5 Billion US Dollars, Aleksashenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 24 – The costs of Vladimir Putin’s Crimean Anschluss are incalculable because they involve international isolation and the stunted development of the Russian economy and Russian society, but efforts to measure the costs, direct and indirect continue, a reflection of the fact that ever more Russians see Crimea as a burden rather than an achievement.

            The latest such effort is by Russian economist Sergey Aleksashenko who has prepared a book-length study on the subject, a portion of which has been published in advance by Forbes (

            He says that very crudely, Crimea has already cost Russia 1.5 trillion rubles (23.5 billion US dollars) or approximately 10,000 rubles (160 US dollars) for every Russian man, woman and child.  To put that in perspective: Crimea has cost what Moscow spends on education over two years or on health care for three years or on culture for 15 years.

            Or, and this is the most dramatic figure, the Crimea costs are equal to what the Russian government spends on the Academy of Sciences for a total of 357 years, Aleksashenko says. Despite these figures, however, polls show that a majority of Russians (70 percent) currently do not think the annexation has had a negative impact on their lives.

            But the drumbeat of such assessments, showing that Moscow is sending more money to Crimea than it is on many more immediate social and economic needs of Russians may change that, especially if economic conditions in Russia continue to deteriorate. 

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