Shocker: Russian-Run Crimea Is Pretty Miserable

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Two years after Russia illegally annexed Crimea, the economy has plummeted, prices have soared, and the Russian government doesn’t have enough money to help the Crimean people.

“People are naive. They thought that if we were part of Russia, everything would be Russian. Prices have now jumped to the Russian level, but wages have stayed the same. That’s the main problem,” a Crimean factory worker told Reuters. “We joined Russia and they stopped giving a damn about us,” he elaborated.

When Crimea was part of Ukraine, goods were generally affordable. After Russia’s annexation, Kiev stopped its regular shipments, which caused prices to soar. Russia has yet to integrate Crimea into its supply chain, causing local prices to skyrocket. An examination of official statistics by Euromaidan Press revealed that Crimea’s unemployment rate has risen by 7% since its annexation by Russia.

Crimea’s median income falls squarely into the average income in Ukraine, but only constitutes half the average Russian salary. “It would be enough in Ukraine because prices were lower. I’m shocked. My wage is stuck and everything grows in price,” a Crimean worker told Reuters.

Russia is under international sanction by the U.S. and EU for its annexation of Crimea. The sanctions do not allow any European or American companies to do business or invest in Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Crimea it would bring billions more rubles to the peninsula in tourism money, but overlooked the fact that over 67% of Crimean tourists were Ukrainian. After Russia’s annexation, all tourism from Ukraine ceased. Worse, 70% of all Crimean-bound tourists arrived by train. After Russia’s annexation, Crimea is completely unaccessible by train and can only be reached by air.

Russia also assumed responsibility for pension payouts to government workers in Crimea. When a Crimean protestor confronted Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev about the low standard of living in May, he replied, “We simply have no money … Bear up.”

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