Russia’s Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) said on Saturday it was possible that Crimea and the peninsula city of Sevastopol will be included in the national rating of investment climate in the country’s regions starting next year.
"Starting next year, the transitional period [for Crimea’s integration into Russia] will come to an end," ASI chief Andrey Nikitin said at an educational youth forum in Russia’s Vladimir region, adding that assessment methods used in other regions would be applied to Crimea and Sevastopol.
"We hope, although it is too early to say for sure, that Crimea and Sevastopol will be included in the national rating," Nikitin said, adding that the new Russian region would have to carry out much work to improve its investment climate.
He highlighted the need to create investment platforms and develop legal frameworks and urged to establish a "frank and open" dialogue with entrepreneurs working in the region.
Since 2014, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives works together with leading business associations to assess the quality of investment climate in Russian regions throughout the country.
The rating is used to evaluate efforts of regional authorities, identify best practices in investor relations and introduce these practices in other regions.
A pilot test of the rating conducted in 2014 covered 21 Russian regions and involved about 14,000 business representatives. This year, a total of 76 regions and 240,000 entrepreneurs took part in the project.
According to the results of the rating, the leading regions saw an increase in gross regional product (GRP) per capita, as well as higher living standards. The best results were shown by the republic of Tatarstan alongside Kaluga, Belgorod, Tambov and Ulyanovsk regions.
Crimea, where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognise the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
In mid-March last year, Crimea re-joined Russia following a referendum. More than 82% of the electorate took part in the vote. Over 96% backed splitting from Ukraine and spoke in favour of reuniting with Russia.
Following the reunification, a transitional period was set for the new subject to be integrated into Russia's economic, financial, credit and legal systems.