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Putin orders formation of Ministry for Crimean Affairs

March 31, 2014, 14:39 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

Oleg Savelyev will head the new ministry of the Russian government

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SIMFEROPOL, March 31. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the formation of the Ministry for the Crimean Affairs, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.

In a separate decree, Putin ordered Oleg Savelyev to head the new ministry of the Russian government.

“I believe it is feasible to form a separate federal body with the executive branch of the government for dealing with the issues of Crimea and Sevastopol,” Medvedev said. “The Russian president supported the government’s initiative concerning this issue and signed two decrees."

“The first is on the formation of the Ministry for Crimean Affairs and the second is on the appointment of Oleg Savelyev to the post of the minister,” the prime minister added.


Crimea development is priority

“The development of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became a priority for the government,” Medvedev said. “It is no secret that it would demand great effort on behalf of various governmental bodies to achieve the set task.”

Medvedev, who along with most of the Russian ministers is visiting Crimea on Monday, asked the members of the cabinet to render the new minister as much assistance as possible.

Until being appointed the head of the new ministry on Monday, Savelyev, 48, served as a deputy minister of the Russian Economic Development Ministry since August of 2008. Over the last years, Savelyev has also worked as CEO of PR-System agency.


Crimea's reunification with Russia

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, signed agreements with Russia to become its constituent members on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which most Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

The developments followed a coup in Ukraine in February that occurred after months of anti-government protests, which often turned violent.

In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine.

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