Since Crimea’s unification with Russia 10 months ago, more than $1 billion in real estate and other assets have been stripped from their former owners, according to estimates from the owners and lawyers, The New York Times reports.
The assets include banks, hotels, shipyards, farms, gas stations, the major bakery, a vital dairy and even the storied lots of Yalta Film Studio, which 50 years ago made this now shabby seaside resort the Hollywood of the Soviet Union.
Crimea’s government meanwhile characterizes its actions as nationalization.
“Nothing was confiscated,” said Vladimir Konstantinov, chairman of the State Council, when asked about the issue. “There is a procedure of forced redemption.”
The Crimean authorities have also seized assets from oligarchs they accused of financing the war against pro-Russian separatists in southeastern Ukraine. Business people living in Crimea and even Russians have lost property as well.