Russia sent Crimea the first of what will most likely be several checks after the peninsula voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia, the amount totaling $414,550,645.45.
Crimeans expressed frustration with Kiev, and they hope to prosper financially under Russia. They expect a stable economy and job opportunities in the peninsula, now that they are a part of the Russian Federation. “With Russia, things will be better. We want to live like humans,” said one yes-voter in Simferopol who declined to give his name.
Some residents in east Ukraine feel the same way. People in Luhansk, the majority in the older generation, want to be annexed by Russia for economic and nationalist reasons. Many told the Kyiv Post that the city prospered under the Soviet Union, and jobs were plentiful.
Crimea’s leader, Sergei Aksyonov, said the government will make Russia’s ruble the main currency by April. No exchange rate is set, and the banks are low on cash. Residents ran to the banks before the referendum on March 16 because everyone expected the outcome to favor Russia. They knew the currency would change and took out as much money as possible.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the decree that officially recognized Crimea’s independence, and then he claimed the peninsula as Russian territory.