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Now that the Crimean annexation has served its ulterior purpose of poaching the Ukrainian combat-ready dolphin-squadron and incorporating it into the Russian marine mammal unit, Putin is stuck with the nondescript patchwork of gloomy steppes and undistinguished mountains that is the Crimean peninsula, and even worse, with a couple of millions of new Russian citizens pleading for rubles, subsidized gas and tax-free vodka. The Kremlin has been therefore wrapped up lately in high-level consultations and strategy workshops to devise a sustainability plan for Crimea with the right "je ne sais quoi" quality that an issue like this demands. It is after all one on which the whole world is focusing on and thus deserves a master plan adequately visionary and overwhelmingly brilliant, worthy of the Russian grandeur. 


Initial concepts focused on the recreational potential of the peninsula. For example, turning it into exclusive hunting grounds by deporting the population to somewhere more advantageous for them (Northern Siberia has remarkably low unemployment and low rental property values) and populating the lands with beastly bears, purring lynxes and other staples of indigenous hunting prey as well as more exotic specimens like Bengal tigers, extra-stripy zebras and genetically re-engineered mammoths. In this scenario, deserted cities would have provided alternative hunting grounds for the more sophisticated huntsmen that seek to combine the thrills of tracking & shooting with those of sightseeing and urban guerrilla warfare.


A more family-friendly proposal involved rebranding Crimea as Putin-Land and turning it into a peninsula-wide theme-park where visitors experience the glorious trajectory of the Russia Federation (a.k.a. Empire), from the early tentative steps of the Tsars to establish an Eurasian kingdom to the current regime's accomplishment of world domination. Attractions would encompass a Peter the Great & Catherine the Great wonderland, including an interactive spectacle about the conquest of the Crimean Khanate for boys and a replica of Catherine's boudoir for girls, wide-scale reenactments of famous crushing defeats afflicted to insolent foreign powers, like Napoleon and the Nazis, which dared to invade Russian territories, and an educational roller coaster meandering through several high-tech installations demonstrating the achievements of the soviet one-party rule. Visitors would be able to buy Putin merchandize from the numerous duty-free shops across Crimea, stay at one the of several Kremlin-resembling hotels and participate in a meet-and-greet with an accredited Putin impersonator.


The prevailing concept so far of colonizing Crimea with opulent casinos is being scrutinized very seriously by Putin who, although in principle despises gambling of any sort (anything in general that implies the prevalence of chance over will), is keen on demonstrating a more light-hearted Russian side to the world after the numerous annexations of the recent decades. In a similar spirit to the transformation of neighboring Sochi from a provincial depression-town into a winter-sport-cum-spa-resort, Crimea will be reborn as a swank, no-holds-barred, Monaco-on-the-Black-Sea, providing a gambling experience equal to no other and with the added advantage of russian roulette wagers. On a more strategic level, this plan also aims to lure casino-starved Ukrainians to Crimea and extract every last hryvnia out of their wallets, bank accounts and mattresses in an orchestrated plan to eventually deprive the Ukrainian economy of all cash-flow and then maybe annex it to combat financial mismanagement and widespread gambling addiction.


On the long run this strategy also includes making Abkhazia into a plastic-surgery regional hub, Transnistria into a sex-change Mecca and South Ossetia a Florida-on-the-Caucasus retirement community.


Las Vegas on the Black Sea? Putin's Weird Economic Plan for Crimean Casinos

Apr.22, 2014 | LA CRÈME DE LA CRIMÉE

Crimea Annexation: The Chips are Down

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