Ukrainian political analyst: In advance of Presidential elections, the Kremlin is diverting financial assistance from Donbas to Crimea
The Ukrainian political scientist and leader of the United Coordination Center, Oleh Saakian, believes that the end of the of assistance to the separatist-held territories of the Donbas by Russia and the redirecting of this money to the annexed Crimea is a demonstrative step in the run-up to presidential elections. This allows the Kremlin to fulfill several tasks at once, the expert said on the air with radio Krym.Realii.
"It is very likely that the money is being transferred "for the Crimea" in order to play the Crimean card before the presidential elections. They will be held precisely on the day of the anniversary of the annexation, March 18th. One way or another, Moscow has provided support to the occupied Ukrainian territories in the Donbas through hidden budget provisions. Perhaps this is a nod toward Germany and the US to show that Russia is now a supposedly negotiable partner in the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis," the expert said.
The same opinion regarding the "Crimean card" is held by the Ukrainian economist and managing partner of the consulting company, Financial Studio, Yevhen Nevmerzhitsky.
"An obvious gesture has been made for the electorate. They are saying, we stop supported territories that are "not our own" and have redirected funds to those that we consider to be our own, such as Crimea. Apparently, the Kremlin considers this step important in the run-up to the presidential elections," the expert concluded.
Previously, the Russian media disseminated information that Russia would deprive the separatist-held territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of funding from the state budget, redistributing it in favor of Kaliningrad and the annexed Crimea. According to journalists, the Russian Ministry of Finance was instructed to exclude funds for humanitarian assistance for the DPR and the LPR from the draft federal budget for the next three years.