Statement by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the sixth anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia
The Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on the Accession of the Republic of Crimea in the Russian Federation and on Forming New Constituent Entities within the Russian Federation was signed six years ago, on March 18, 2014. The Crimean Spring and the free vote at the referendum in Crimea, which was a fine example of the right of peoples to self-determination sealed in the UN Charter and the Declaration on Principles of International Law, allowed Crimea to reunite with Russia.
After all these years, it is becoming increasingly clear that there was no alternative to the decision taken by the Crimean people through a free expression of their will, and that it was the only correct decision that could have been taken in the tense situation around the peninsula. As a result, Crimea has not succumbed to the radical nationalists and has avoided, together with Russia, the social and political upheavals which Ukraine suffered after the Maidan revolution. Neither has Crimea become a training range for NATO manoeuvres targeting Russia.
Geopolitically, the peninsula has always had huge strategic importance, which is why it was the site of numerous fierce and bloody battles. In this year of memory and glory, when we are preparing to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory, we also commemorate the heroic defence of Sevastopol, the liberation of Crimea and other dramatic events in the history of the Great Patriotic War, which provide vivid examples of selflessness, unity and love for one’s Fatherland.
Of all Russian regions, Crimea has been affected most severely by the destructive foreign actions. Standing up against the openly unfriendly and Russophobic actions calls for consolidated efforts and comprehensive political, legal, financial, economic, cultural and humanitarian measures, as well as information campaigns to raise public awareness. A great deal has been recently accomplished in this sphere by the Russian authorities and the Crimeans themselves.
As part of Russia, Crimea is overcoming economic problems, improving infrastructure and developing the energy sector, shipbuilding, science and culture. The socioeconomic development of the peninsula was boosted dramatically when the Crimean Bridge, which was built in a record short time, opened to automobile traffic. Passenger transportation across the Kerch Strait began with the opening of the bridge to railway traffic in December 2019. Rail freight transportation via the bridge will begin this year. The construction of the Tavrida Motorway, which will run through the peninsula from east to west, is nearing completion. Reliable connection to mainland Russia has catalysed the tourism sector: 7.4 million people spent their holidays in Crimea last year, compared to under 5.5 million before 2014.
New attempts are being taken to isolate Crimea, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for our opponents to pursue this course. In 2019, over 70 major international events were held in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. The 5th Yalta International Economic Forum, which has become an attractive venue for demonstrating Crimea’s investment opportunities, rallied the largest ever number of participants, 4,500 people from 89 countries. The numerous foreign visitors can make an objective assessment of the federal and regional authorities’ efforts to improve the quality of life in Crimea, strengthen interfaith accord and protect the rights of ethnic minorities.
The September 8, 2019 elections to the State Council of Crimea, the Legislative Assembly of Sevastopol and 265 municipal councils ensured the continuity of power. The number of Crimean Tatars elected to the Crimean legislative bodies has increased by 150 percent. The polls held on the peninsula confirm the positive atmosphere in interethnic and interfaith relations. This means that any attempts to undermine sociopolitical stability in Crimea are doomed to failure.