Sergey Aleksashenko has calculated how much the annexation of Crimea cost Russia

The economist analyzes the consequences of the annexation of the Crimea for the Russian economy.
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Five years ago, on March 18, 2014, Vladimir Putin solemnly announced the annexation of Crimea to Russia, and this “mini-anniversary” is undoubtedly a good reason to talk about the pros and cons of that decision, about what our country received and what it had to pay for it.

Let's start with the advantages, which, in my opinion, not very much. 27 thousand square kilometers of territory (0.15% of the total territory of Russia), 2.2 million new residents are objective data, to which subjective positive emotions of a significant part of the population from the “restoration of historical justice” can be added, from the “return of the original Russian lands ”And from the“ restoration of the status of a great power ”, which, like the United States, can do everything in the modern world that it wants, knowing that it will have nothing for it. (Note in brackets that China in its current state cannot claim the status of a great power - the course of the trade war with the United States clearly proves this). With a very big desire, positive emotions of an extremely small part of the Russian population can be added to all of this. the peninsula.

It is possible that someone else will have some “pluses” that Russia managed to gain by joining the Crimea, but I’m not sure that there will be many of them and they will be more weighty than those listed above. And, then, you can proceed to the price of the issue, to a discussion of what and how much our country paid for what it received.

Crimea has always been a territory that required financial support from the central budget — both during the Soviet times and as part of an independent Ukraine. After joining Russia no miracle happened, giant deposits of gold or hydrocarbons that could create an economic base for the region could not be found on the peninsula, so even to maintain the existing budget and utilities, the Russian Federal Ministry of Finance urgently needed to find 55 billion rubles 2014 In subsequent years, this amount only increased - it was necessary to raise salaries of Crimean state employees, who were several times lower than in the Russian regions, it was necessary to finance various projects that were supposed to raise the level of social and municipal infrastructure to a level comparable to the average for Russia - In 2019, free transfers from the federal budget to the Crimean budget will amount to 150 billion rubles, while in 2014-2019, the total amount of subsidies / subventions / gifts from the federal budget amounted to about 580 billion rubles.

We should not forget that Sevastopol was given the status of an independent Russian region, that is, it has an independent budget, which also cannot make ends meet without support from Moscow, the amount of which for 2014–2019 was slightly less than 120 billion rubles. Thus, the Federal Ministry of Finance directly transferred 700 billion rubles to the peninsula.

Russian statistics happily reports that the amount of taxes collected in Crimea is growing rapidly, and in terms of this growth rate, Crimea is among the leaders among the Russian regions, but it is shyly silent that a substantial part of these taxes is derived from increasing budget spending and from the implementation of state investment programs in the peninsula. In general, 75–77% of the regional budget expenditures are financed in the Crimea from the federal budget funds, about 60% in Sevastopol, and these figures remain fairly stable.

In addition to the direct expenses of the federal budget, there are indirect expenses, the cost of paying pensions to Crimean pensioners, who were about 550 thousand five years ago and another 110 thousand in Sevastopol, whose average pension in April 2014 was 5,600 rubles and was doubled to the average Russian level, by the middle of that year. Obviously, all expenses for the payment of pensions during 2014 were fully financed from the Pension Fund of Russia, as well as the difference between the amount of pension insurance contributions collected on the peninsula and the amount of pensions paid. Taking into account data on the size of the workforce and on the average wage, while not forgetting about the “tithing” for the maintenance of the PFR apparatus, I received an amount of 200 billion rubles that the PFR spent during this period on paying pensions to residents of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Total is 900 billion rubles from the federal budget. But let's not forget that the Russian state is exceptionally inventive in how you can withdraw some more money from our wallets in order to spend on such state needs that we, as they say, “are neither hot nor coldly". One of the main instruments of such exemptions are various kinds of state-owned companies, which, formally being joint-stock companies, often satisfy the interests of only one, the main shareholder. There are many of these companies, the main ones (in the sense of withdrawing money from our wallets) are energy and gas companies, on which the federal government has allocated a substantial part of the costs associated with investments in the infrastructure of the Crimea: the energy bridge, the Kuban-Crimea gas pipeline, the construction of a cogeneration plant from the sanctions by the Siemens turbines, the gasification of the peninsula ... Add to this the bridge across the Kerch Strait, the Tavrida highway, investments in the reconstruction of regional roads — in the end it turns out another 600 billion rubles for 201 4–2019 years.

One and a half trillion rubles. Very roughly, 10 thousand from each Russian citizen, including helpless old men and babies. Or expenses of the federal budget for education for two years. Or the cost of health care for three years. Or the cost of culture for 15 years. Or financing of the Russian Academy of Sciences for 357 years.

Is it a lot or a little? I think that everyone can answer this question himself. <...>

In terms of numbers, the final price for the annexation of the Crimea was the stagnation of the economy. In the five post-Crimean years, Russia's GDP grew by less than 2%, despite the fact that the world economy has grown during this time by 19%. In terms of economic growth in this period, Russia takes the “honorable” 173rd place out of 193 countries, data for which gives the International Monetary Fund, comfortably settling between the Bahamas and Chad from above and Azerbaijan and Belarus from the bottom. The real incomes of the population declined throughout the entire five-year period, declining by 11% as a result, and even the most inveterate optimists do not undertake to predict how many years it will take to restore them to the pre-Crimea level.