Russia’s government plans to soon submit to the State Duma a bill that envisions expansion of Crimea’s free economic zone, the Izvestia daily reported.
According to the newspaper, the relevant amendments to the law “On development of the Crimean Federal District and the free economic zone on the territory of the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol” may be submitted to the Duma’s consideration already this week.
A government source told Izvestia that the amendments stipulate inclusion in Crimea’s free economic zone the entire coastal line of the peninsula and Russia’s territorial waters 22.2 kilometers wide.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.