Crimea will get 43.5 billion rubles in federal government transfers in 2016 and Moscow will provide an added 148 billion rubles as part of a state development plan for the peninsula, part of which will be used to finance the bridge.
The combined total is only a fraction of the 16 trillion rubles originally earmarked for the 2016 Russian state budget.
PRO-RUSSIAN POPULATION Russian officials say Crimea’s 2 million people voiced their desire to join Russia in a democratic vote in 2014, so there was no violation of international law.
Russia must allow free and unhindered passage through the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov.” This week marks the fifth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which took place between late February and March 2014.But the costs of annexation will be much higher as sanctions - which the International Monetary Fund has said could cut Russian GDP by 9 percent - continue to exact their toll.TSARIST-ERA BEGINNINGS An idea first hatched under Russian Tsar Nicholas the Second in 1910, the bridge will now consist of two parallel road and rail spans capable of carrying 40,000 vehicles every 24 hours and connected by road to the Crimean capital of Simferopol.“Let us hope that we will fulfil this historic mission.Undoubtedly, it will create additional opportunities for economic growth.” The bridge is being built by a company owned by Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s judo partner, who was among the first in the president’s entourage to be slapped with Western sanctions after Crimea’s annexation.
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A dependence on Ukraine for power supplies has also left them vulnerable to pro-Ukrainian activists who sabotaged electricity cables last year, subjecting the peninsula to weeks of rolling blackouts.