Yalta Forum: propaganda instead of economics

Yalta Forum: Propaganda Instead of Economics

On April 19-21, 2018, Crimea will host the Forth Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF-2018). The forthcoming event was preceded by extensive agitational promotional campaign both in Russian and foreign political and business circles. This event is actively boosted by the Russian and Crimean authorities.

Russian media diligently report increased interest to the discussion of topical political and economic problems of the international importance within this platform, growing audience of a forum from year to year which is evidenced by the positive statistics: the first forum was visited by 600 delegates, the second hosted 1100, and the third was allegedly visited by more than 2200 people, including 250 foreign participants from 46 countries of the world.

Today Russian and Crimea media triumphantly announce more than 3000 participants including more than 500 foreign guests from 60 countries to visit forum this year. Among them politicians, representatives of business and expert community from all around the world are expected. Fancy that! The Yalta Forum is represented as ‘one of the largest business events in the economic life among the four similar events, organized in Russia’.

Well, what are the results of previous forums? As a matter of a fact, there is nothing. Majority of previously approved projects have not even started, many investors folded their activity in Crimea on the whole. Hardly any representative of big business visited last year Yalta Forum. However, following the forum outcomes, it was declared that the authorities succeeded to sign series of the documents ‘with very significant and influential investors’, for example:

  • agreement between the “Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea” and the “Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Abkhazia” on trade and economic, scientific, technical and humanitarian cooperation;
  • agreement between the “Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Crimea” and the “Ministry of Economic Development of Abkhazia”;
  • agreement between the cities of Gagra and Yalta;
  • agreement between the KSK Group and administration of Yalta city for the implementation of “the investment project”(!) on construction of an apartment complex;
  • agreement between the KSK Group and administration of Alushta city for the implementation of the “Construction of Apartment Complex ‘Sea Quarter’ in Alushta” project;
  • agreement with the Russian investors on development of the Simferopol airport.

For sure, entering into “investment agreements” with Abkhazia breakaway region confirms “high” interest of foreign business to invest in Crimea. And signing of the “agreements” on construction of high-rise building looks like an attempt of the Forum promoters to cover the investment nudity with ‘a fig leaf’ in the form of “grand” construction plans of “Sea Quarter” apartment complex. Indeed, the mountain has brought forth a mouse!

Well, following the outcomes of previous “economic” forums held in Yalta it may be concluded that this event is rather political than economic. Its organizers pursue the only goal – to prove that Europe has recognized the Russian status of Crimea. By holding such events on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Russia expects that involvement of foreigners and massive information campaign will show to European community, international organizations and primarily United Nations General Assembly the need of lifting sanctions and resolutions condemning Russia’s actions on Crimea.

According to Moscow’s intention, it should promote legalization of illegal actions of Russian Federation on the peninsula and blenching their image. Generally, the message is as follows – legality of Crimea annexation by Russian Federation.

In this regard pro-Russian media actively promote ‘fearlessness’ of some deputies of the European parliament and representatives of marginal parties receiving financial sops from Moscow, parliaments of some European states (Germany and Austria in particular) which are going to participate in “forum” despite of the sanctions with regard to Crimea.

However, this is the case of greed and foolishness rather than fearlessness. Only well motivated persons can hazard their reputation attending such event and breaking the laws of other state. It is common known that entrance and departure of foreign citizens as a part of official delegations or in their private capacity on the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea are gross violations of international law. Such actions contravene the United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 68/262

confirming territorial integrity of Ukraine as well as the Law of Ukraine “On ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens and a legal regime within the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine”, the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 68/262 of June 4, 2015 No. 367 “On the approval of the procedure for entering and exit from the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine”.

Ukraine has repeatedly declared that they treat such violations as unfriendly gesture from politicians, officials and citizens of the foreign states which thus not only support violation of territorial integrity of Ukraine by Russian Federation but also encourage Moscow to the further aggressive and hostile actions contradicting international law and destroying the international security system. Ukraine declares intention to deliver international assignments to the states, which nationals participated in the illegal forum.

As for the intention of some businessmen to arrange business in occupied Crimea attending the forum in Yalta it is possible to speak about the highest manifestation of foolishness from their side. The European Union and the USA forbade implementation of new joint projects, investment, granting loans, acquisition of infrastructure facilities in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in telecommunication, energy, transport and tourism areas.

Regulation authorities of the EU Member States perform continuous monitoring of execution of restrictive instructions by European entities. Those who violate sanction regime may be subjects to criminal sanctions in the form of real term of imprisonment and imposition of a heavy financial penalty.

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