One might suspect that the hysteria [around the COVID-19 outbreak] is an attempt to distract from the real issues. The time selected for this is ideal, and this is not a coincidence.
Crimea, as part of Ukraine, was a donor for other regions of the country. Meanwhile, Crimea itself needed help and support, but in other parts of the country, it was even worse. Therefore, money was taken and redistributed from here.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Crimea. In 2014, even before the annexation, the Minister of Finance of Ukraine Oleksandr Shlapak announced:
“Crimea was and remains a subsidised region. In 2013, Crimea was able to provide its financial needs by 51.2%. Crimean taxpayers paid 8.5 billion UAH to budgets of all levels. At the same time, 16.6 billion UAH were received from the budget. The subsidy to the Pension Fund of Crimea amounted to 3.4 billion UAH.”
Crimean economist Yuri Smelyansky in an interview with BBC Ukraine noted that before the illegal annexation by Russia, Crimea was financed in Ukraine in much the same way as other regions. “No matter how hard it was, in the conditions of the permanent economic crisis in which Ukraine has been living for 23 years, roads were being built in Crimea, small and medium-sized businesses, which are now dying, were actively developing, the economy was recovering, although not in the way I wanted it to,” said Yuri Smelyansky.