It is one year since Crimea has joined Russian federation. Whether this journey to the unification has been successful or not, how Western economic sanctions are affecting it, what it expects from Russia's all-weather friend India, were questions posed before Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov during an exclusive interview with Samay tv channel's foreign affairs correspodent Bijendra Singh.
Q: Its one year since Crimea joined Russia, what changes it has undergone in this period ?
A:It was the will of the people. The choice had been made a year ago.
Q: What are the areas where you are giving much more focus ?
A: We have suffered a lot from the energy supply front from Ukraine. We are trying to neutralise it. Consequently, we are trying to reorient agriculture.
Q: How do Western sanctions on Crimea affect the economy of the region ?
A: We have logistical problems. Our sea ports are closed for the international ships, thats the main problem.
Q: Indian pharma companies are eager to invest in the region. What are the other areas where Indians can invest ?
A: Construction and manufacturing are the areas where we want Indian investments. We want Indians to visit and tell the world about the situation. We are going to sign some of the business agreements in pharma and other areas. To this regard, we are waiting for the official delegation to come to Crimea.
Q: Other foreign countries which have expressed their desire to invest in Crimea ?
A: Businessmen from France, Italy, Great Britain are willing to cooperate in trade and make some investments here.
Q: A lot of ethnic minorities such as Tartars are in Crimea. What has been done to assure that they are treated equally and have same rights ?
A: We have made several efforts for the reahbilitation of the minorities. Whether Greeks, Armenians or Tartars-they enjoy same rights. We are helping them to adapt to the Crimean life. We are promoting more freedom of rights than the Ukrainian government. We are building infrastructure where they live. We support there freedom and respect the culture and traditions of the Tartars and others.
Q: World is still reluctant to recognise Crimea as a part of Russia. What's your comment?
A: They want to weaken Russian federation on the international front. The best way to prove that Crimea is peaceful is to go alongwith western journalists to the streets and seek opinions from public.
Q: The situation I saw here is quite different from what West is claiming. Do you see a west design in anti-Crimea propaganda ?
A: West has biased view against Crimea. Crimea is a safe place. My visit to India was good.
www.saharasamay.com, 11 Apr 2015