Next year, a representative office of the Crimea will open in Brussels to promote the interests of the Russian peninsula in the territory of the European Union. Moreover, on an absolutely legal basis, as an official lobbyist structure.
This was reported to RIA Novosti Crimea by the co-chairman of Business Russia and the organizing committee of the Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF), Andrei Nazarov.
According to him, now the working group, composed of experts, as well as European politicians and public figures, many of whom have visited the Crimea more than once since 2014, including as guests of the forum, is working on organizational issues.
Nazarov also noted that “the office will be registered as a lobbyist organization in order to legitimately promote the interests of the Republic of Crimea in the European Union.” In Brussels, she already has a “permanent working office,” the official opening of which is scheduled for the first half of next year.
Member of the working group, the deputy of the Belgian parliament, Philip Devinter, in his comments to Izvestia, in turn, noted that this initiative is aimed at overcoming the sanctions regime.
“We want to create a representative office, including helping European businessmen in the implementation of business projects in the peninsula. But also, for example, assisted in the organization of cultural projects, organized presentations of the peninsula to overcome the negative agenda around the region, said the parliamentarian.
In March 2019, it will be exactly five years since Russia has been living under Western sanctions, which were introduced after the return of the Crimea to its native harbor following a referendum. Restrictions are still in effect and are even expanding – recently, for example, the Americans introduced a portion of new ones, including against several Crimean health resorts.
Is there, then, a reason to say that with the advent of the new lobbyist structure, the mood of European politicians towards the Crimea will change?
– No, the creation of this representative office does not reflect any change in the mood of European politicians, commented the head of the Center for Political Economics Studies of the Institute of the New Society, Vasily Koltashov.
– The European Union still maintained the line of hostility towards the Russian Federation. From the point of view of European financial elites and European bureaucracy, Russia is only a living space that lies in the East.
Unfortunately, as in the 20th century, we are again in the same situation, when Russia is viewed simply as a peripheral source for the stabilization of Western European capitalism. And although there is already a split between Britain and the EU, i.e. in fact, with Germany. And, like, in Germany, everyone began to understand, and in Belgium. But the situation has not changed fundamentally and, apparently, will not change soon.
A strategic task in this situation is, in my opinion, to attract European capital to the Crimea and to the Russian economy. Crimea is very promising as a region where you can invest. Now there is in many ways a wild land. In the tourist sphere of the peninsula, I believe, anarchy still prevails.
This is a legacy of the Ukrainian era, connected, by the way, including the corruption of local officials. And Russia, despite its efforts, was unable to reverse the situation.
I was in Crimea in 2016 specifically on investment issues. I met there with businessmen and officials. Moscow does not want Crimea to be with the same level of corruption and irresponsibility of officials as Ukraine. Therefore, trying to restore order, this work has been going on for several years.
I am sure that the order will be there. Therefore, investors will find where to turn. And the matter is not even in agriculture – here the Russian business will master everything. And the fact that in the Crimea, indeed, you can create a very promising tourist area. Build decent hotels. And earn. Therefore, Crimea is interesting for European capital.
Sochi is not interesting. Megapolis on the Black Sea. What, actually, is there to do? There everything is already there – everything that is necessary and what is not necessary. But the Crimea is a place that will attract millions of tourists, including tourists from Europe.
- What can attract this sophisticated, capricious public?
– By the fact that Ancient Scythia is Crimea. The Greek city-policies are the Crimea. And the Italian trading civilization of the Middle Ages is also Crimea. In Crimea, moreover, there is a very mild, pleasant climate, approximately as in Northern Italy. It’s good in the summer there, it’s not hard for the northerners, such as in the Peloponnese or Crete, especially. Or in Turkish Antalya. Therefore, the Russian Taurida has advantages. It is pleasant to rest there, and it is interesting there – the peninsula has a rich history. This and the Crimean Khanate, and the Khazar Kaganate – even more ancient period is present there. And the Byzantine Empire – in the neighborhood. There you can simply make another masterpiece zone in Europe, at least by restoring some destroyed buildings and creating cultural centers. For this, of course, we need government investments, but also private ones.
– But who in the West will want to invest in the Crimea with total sanctions?
– There is nothing complicated. European capital will be “repackaged” in Russia – that’s all. It will enter Russia, create a company, this company will create another, and this other will own another company that can work in the Crimea. I think the task now is to minimize the effect of sanctions if we are talking about political task. I described the economic problem. It is to give the bridge to the European business in Crimea – to invest and work. The main thing is that European officials do not interfere. “Joint venture”.
– I do not think that the lobbying structure being created is able to close the “Crimean question”, in fact. Because there is no “Crimean question”. And there is a question about Ukraine – a state that is extremely aggressive, destructive, which is the source of political tension in Eastern Europe. Can the Crimean representative office close this question? Of course not. On the side of Kiev both the United States are playing, and the European Union. Ukrainian authorities are also trying. And there are enough of their own internal fools. Therefore, this question is not so easy to remove. Moreover, the policy of the EU remains the policy of expansion to the East. So, the task of this structure, Russian diplomacy, and various public and political organizations that cooperate with Russia in the West is to change the mood in Europe. Let us understand that Russia is not a living space for several EU leaders who will seize everything and rob, as they used to do in Eastern Europe. How they robbed the Balkans … This will not happen. Here’s what you need to explain to them, and where to change their attitude.
It can happen that beyond Ukraine’s borders and maybe Belarus, the EU will not break. Russia, on the other hand, has great potential for economic development. And European capital will be cut off from this, and it will lose here. Therefore, the task is that European capital, despite all prohibitions and fears, still work in the Russian market. And at the next stage, the conflict will be lifted. But we all understand that it cannot be lifted soon.
– It has long been clear to everyone that American sanctions have been imposed forever. And the only question is how Europe will behave in this regard, from which the States are constantly demanding to maintain unity in the sanctions policy against Russia. Will it “continue to eat cactus” or will it finally show character?
– The European Union is in growing contradictions with the United States. However, those who think that the EU will get a bloc with Russia so easily and immediately, because they have bad relations with Washington and London, they are mistaken. Eurocracy and European financial circles are people who study slowly. And they do not extract all necessary from the lessons.