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Russia restoring defense infrastructure on Kuril Islands — PM

July 23, 2015, 13:07 UTC+3
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev plans to visit the Kuril Islands
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Dmitry Medvedev visiting the Kuril Islands in 2010

Dmitry Medvedev visiting the Kuril Islands in 2010

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev

GORKI, July 23. /TASS/. The Russian authorities are planning to restore both the civilian and defense infrastructure of the Kuril Islands off Russia’s Pacific coast as part of the targeted federal program, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.

"We’re restoring both the civilian and defense infrastructure of the Kurils," Medvedev said.

According to the Russian premier, "the Armed Forces, and the Defense Ministry of Russia are dealing not only with the military but also with the civilian component" on the Kuril Islands.

"It is necessary to join efforts, all the more so as the islands performed and will continue performing not only the usual function but also the function of protecting our frontiers," the prime minister said.

"That is why, special attention is paid to the units of the Russian Armed Forces present there," Medvedev said.

Russian PM plans to visit Kuril Islands

The prime minister also said he was planning to visit the islands.

"I am planning to go there and have a look how matters stand there. And I invite the others," Medvedev told the cabinet members. Medvedev also advised other ministers to follow his example and visit the Kuril Islands in Russia's Far East.

Medvedev first visited the Kuril Islands in 2010 when he was holding the post of the Russian president.

He became the first Russian leader to visit the islands.

In 2012, the prime minister visited Kunashir, southernmost of the Kuril Islands.

Japan, which claims four of the Kuril Islands, including Kunashir, protested against Medvedev’s visits. However, Moscow repeatedly stated that Tokyo had no right to give Russian leaders advice on the routes of their domestic trips.

Advanced development territories in Kuril Islands

According to Medvedev, it is possible to create advanced development territories in Kuril Islands. 

 Medvedev stressed that the islands should be included in the advanced development territories planning.

"We can consider the issue of creating advanced development territories in the Kurils, of course, depending on what projects surface," Medvedev said, noting that the new Federal Territory Plan.

Medvedev is confident that the infrastructure created in the Kuril Islands right now will serve as a base for the advanced development.

The funding for the Kuril Islands development program, put together until 2025, will amount to almost 70 bln rubles ($1.2 bln). According to Prime Minister Medvedev, " the purpose of the new program is to improve the living conditions on the islands, as much as possible, in order to attract people to the region, to ensure those who already live there with jobs, and provide all the necessary social infrastructure such as kindergartens, schools, medical facilities."

Kuril Islands territorial dispute

Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II. Settlement of the problem inherited by Russia’s diplomacy from the Soviet Union is hampered by the years-long dispute over the four islands of Russia’s Southern Kurils - Shikotan, Khabomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its northern territories.

After World War II, in September 1945, Japan signed the capitulation, and in February 1946, the Kuril Islands were declared territories of the Soviet Union.

During the Cold War, Moscow did not recognize the territorial problem, but in October 1993, when Russian president Boris Yeltsin was on an official visit in Japan, the existence of the problem was confirmed officially. However, the two countries have reached no compromise over the dispute yet.

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