Today, the entire country is following what's going on in Crimea, which made its historic choice at the referendum in 2014 — To be with Russia forever. That decision has protected its residents from the events taking place in neighboring Ukraine. This decision made quiet, peaceful, and robust development possible. And the footage of today's Crimea — Whether it's the bridge or the modern airport, the new vineyards, and the highways — Is a source of pride, delight, and a realization of what else needs to be done.
Grand concerts are currently being held in Sevastopol and Simferopol.
Olga Armyakova is now live with our studio.
- Hello, Olga. What's the mood like out there?
- Hello, Igor. The day is surprising and absolutely special. These 5 years together passed like one day.
These days, everything in the peninsula is decorated with Russian flags. They've never separated themselves from Russia. They call the decision made at the all-Crimean referendum 5 years ago a homecoming. Vladimir Putin arrived to give warm wishes to Crimean residents and the entire country on this amazing historic day.
Vladimir Putin: “I'm not afraid to draw a certain historical comparison now. The actions by Sevastopol and Crimea residents remind me of the actions by the Red Army servicemen in the tragic months at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. When breaking through to their fellow citizens, they removed battle standards of their units, holding them closer to their hearts. Being outside the Russian Federation for years, even decades, you kept your love for our Motherland, for Russia, in your hearts over those years. Thank you, my dear friends.
What happened 5 years ago not only caused an unbelievable increase in patriotic sentiments all over Russia but demonstrated to us the huge power of truth and justice. That's why Russia opened its arms, its heart, and soul, and embraced you in its huge multi-ethnic family with happiness and delight. We'll do everything, achieve every goal that we set, and solve every problem because the most important thing is taken care of. The most important thing is that we're together. Isn't that right?”
Vladimir Putin: “I congratulate you! Thank you very much! I wish good luck and happiness to each one of you.”
It's hard to describe the fantastic concentration of emotions here. People are smiling. Grand concerts are being held in Simferopol and Sevastopol. Of course, there'll be fireworks in the evening.
Watch our report to learn how life in the peninsula has changed.
Here are the doors to the great power future of the peninsula. This is the main building of the state-of-the-art Balaklavskaya power plant. It took them almost 4 years to build it. Now, it's completed. It's state-of-the-art, highly efficient, and extremely environmentally friendly. It's even hard to notice it among vineyards in the aerial footage when looking at the Fedyukhin Heights.
Pyotr Ekimenko, head of the Technopromexport branch in Sevastopol: "The plant has completed all of the tests indeed."
The project provides maximum safety. The plant can withstand a 9.0 earthquake and even gas and water being shut off. The specialists are aware of it, of course. They brought the icon of Admiral Ushakov here when construction began. It's still here.
Vladimir Putin: “In 2014, only 160 MW was generated in the Crimean peninsula. Given the supplies from Ukraine, it wasn't enough. It wasn't even close to enough for sustainable work and the supply of power to residential areas, hospitals, schools, and even less for the development of the Crimean peninsula, for connecting new consumers to the net, for the development of industry, business, and tourism. It wasn't enough at all. The situation has completely changed. We've built a power bridge connecting Crimea and the Unified Energy System of Russia.”
The new power plants are the basis for the energy independence of the peninsula. They remember rolling blackouts because of the actions of Ukrainian radicals well. They built the power bridge in the severest conditions, working ahead of schedule. New power plants were built in record time.
If a turbine is the heart of a power plant, its brain is the main control board. Here it is. Here, they control the work of all of the systems. These screens show real-time information. The control of the station is fully automated. These automated controls, just like other equipment, were made in Russia. This is what they're especially proud of.
Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy: "This is an important stage, not only in the development of the Crimean energy industry but the Russian energy industry as a whole because modern Russian technology is used here."
"The Tavricheskaya TPP is ready to be put into operation.
"The Port substation is ready to be operated as a part of the Unified Energy System of Russia."
- Shall we start the procedure for the launch?
Crimea is completely renovated this anniversary spring: there are new highways, schools, hospitals, and the Crimean Bridge, of course. The launch of the Tavricheskaya and Balaklavskaya TTPs has completely resolved the energy deficit issue.
Vladimir Putin: “The total power consumption in Crimea is about 1,000-1,100 MW now. After new facilities are put into operation, the total available power of Crimea and Sevastopol will be about 2,070 MW. This amount will be enough not only to cover their own needs, given the plans for the development of the Crimean peninsula, but enough to supply power to neighboring regions if necessary. I want to thank all of the specialists who took part in this difficult job, which the people really needed to be done. Without exaggeration, you've successfully performed a task of national importance.”
A lot of things in the peninsula have changed over five years. Only traditions have remained unchanged. They're what they treat with special respect in Sevastopol.
"Man the guns!"
The Battle of Malakoff is a symbol of military glory and unprecedented valor. Two wars and two defensive actions took place on that tactical height. Vladimir Putin paid floral tributes to those who fought till the last breath defending the southern outpost of Russia. Here's the monument to Admiral Kornilov, whose words "Defend Sevastopol" went down in history and became a slogan of the Crimean Spring. The President's last time coming here was almost four years ago. The Malakoff Kurgan has changed so much since then. The monuments were restored with historical authenticity after large-scale reconstruction.
This is the cannon designed in the times of the Crimean War. This new exhibit was found here during archaeological excavations not long ago. It witnessed the brutal fight for the Malakoff Kurgan. It even has a trace from a shell. The Siege of Sevastopol became an example of the heroism of ordinary Russian servicemen because there isn't a single street or house for which they didn't have to fight. At the Malakoff Kurgan, Vladimir Putin met with veterans and residents of the city.
"We all heartily thank you for the great contribution you've made to making our heroic city of Sevastopol Russian again, to returning our Black Sea Fleet to its original harbor!"
Vladimir Putin: “Thank you very much!”
"My students asked me to shake hands with you so that they could shake hands with me tomorrow and feel that you're very close."
Vladimir Putin: “Thank you!”
Sevastopol residents drew the President's attention to the memorial on Mount Sapun. The liberation of the city began at that strategic height in May of 1944.
Vladimir Putin: “We'll restore everything, be sure of it.”
On the winding paths of the Malakoff Kurgan, where almond trees have already begun to bloom, there are sailors wearing 19th-century uniforms. The crew of the Mercury, the legendary brig, wore the same uniform. Back then, against all odds, Russian servicemen defeated a squadron of Turkish ships of the line.
Vladimir Putin: “As to the Mercury, the cadets and I have just recalled it. We'll begin to build five new ships at the end of April. There's a suggestion that we name one of those ships the Mercury.”
Nobody has doubts that those promises will be fulfilled.