Crimea’s secession from Ukraine is a done deal, and its accession into the Russian Federation is likely to be finished, at least on paper, by the end of this week. That doesn’t mean Crimea’s Russification is going to be a simple matter.
Historical and ethnic ties aside, Crimea has been part of the Ukraine for 20+ years now, and from re-registering businesses to operate under Russian law to switching the Crimean economy from the Ukrainian hrynia to the Russian ruble, there’s a lot of paperwork to do.
Still, there’s a lot of celebration in Crimea tonight as annexation looms, and many in the peninsula hope that their economic lot will be greatly improved by being part of the much stronger Russian economy.
Other regions that have sought independence and closer ties with Russia had similar hopes, though places like South Ossetia have seen their economies remain stagnant and dependent on Russian aid after independence.
Crimea’s outright annexation back into Russia, along with its much higher profile, may make its economic fate a much bigger rhetorical matter for both Russia and for Western nations opposed to Crimea splitting from Ukraine.
Crimea’s big economic boon may be years away as well, with Russia planning a bridge linking the peninsula to Russian territory. That will take a long time, and in the interim Crimea’s only contact with Russia will be by sea.