Russian Deputy Economy Minister Dmitry Volvach, who met Abkhaz leadership in Sokhumi on March 9, told TASS that Russia wants Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia to be less dependent on Moscow’s finances.
In the interview with TASS, Russian-owned news agency, the Russian government official said the goal is to reduce the dependence of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali on Russian aid within the next three years.
“For example, the share of Russia’s co-financing in terms of wage increases for public sector employees in the republics will gradually decrease – from 85% in 2022 to 15% by 2025,” Volvach noted.
“First stage of assistance, when we can simply give money there, develop infrastructure, has already ended,” he said, adding “we got everything that we could get from this stage in terms of economic growth.”
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Volvach claimed that as a result of the aid, the share of the regions’ budgetary income have increased – in Abkhazia from 41.5% to 52%, and in Tskhinvali from 7% to 18%.
He said the occupied regions have to attract investments, simplify regulations and improve the investment climate to further grow the revenues for their budgets.
“All the best [rules] that are in Russia should be brought there in order to guarantee the rights of investors,” Volvach highlighted.
Meanwhile, the Russian official noted, Moscow would assist in drafting laws and regulatory frameworks in this context as well as help them by subsidizing interest on loans for select agriculture, tourism and industrial projects.
In the interview, Volvach also noted that GDP of Abkhazia — the region of less than quarter million people — stands at RUB 32 billion (USD 270 million), while Russia’s 2021 aid amounts to over RUB 5 billion (USD 42.2 million).
GDP of Tskhinvali Region — with its population at 50 thousand as per unverified data — stands at RUB 6.1 billion (USD 51.6 million), while it receives Russian aid amounting to RUB 7.2 billion (USD 60.7 million).
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