Russia to Lavish $80 Bln on North Caucasus by 2025

MOSCOW, December 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will spend 2.5 trillion rubles ($80.9 billion) on its volatile North Caucasus region in the next 13 years to spur the area’s social and economic development under a new state program approved on Thursday.

Under the State Program for the North Caucasus Through 2025, 90 percent of these funds will come from so-called extra-budgetary sources, while the federal budget will allocate about 235 billion rubles ($7.5 billion) in 2013-2020.

The program also calls for boosting annual investment in the region to 2 trillion rubles annually and expanding the region’s output to 6 trillion rubles.

It was not clear, however, whether the proposed funding included money previously set aside for the region’s development, or where the non-budgetary investment would come from.

Spending on other development initiatives for the region, including the South of Russia program and the social and economic development of Chechnya and Ingushetia, had been cut during the 2008-2009 economic crisis, said North Caucasus Presidential Envoy Alexander Khloponin. He also said additional budget revenues could be spent on implementing the previously planned projects.

Russia has recently announced several ambitious investment plans for the North Caucasus, including a multi-billion dollar project to develop a cluster of tourism facilities in the region.

That project, slated for 2011-2020, stipulates the construction of five new world-class resorts described as comparable in service and technology with the world’s most popular recreational sports facilities.

Its cost is estimated at 451.4 billion rubles ($13.6 billion), including 60 billion rubles ($1.81 billion) from the federal budget.

The planned resorts – Lagonaki, Arkhyz, Elbrus-Besengi, Mamison and Matlas – will cover an area of 2,500 square kilometers. Their hotels will be able to host 83,500 tourists.

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