Is there any profit for the Russian economy from Crimea accession? It seems like it is not a profitable region, so to me it seems it would be another region which would waste taxpayers money, but actually I didn't do deep research on this, so I still got doubts.
Crimea is a very fertile agricultural region, and is often seen as a vacation spot for Russians. Those are two economic activities that while not economic powerhouses can still usually be net positives for a state economy.
That said, Russia's interests in Crimea are far more geopolitically strategic than economic. The Crimean port of Sevastopol is home to the only Russian warm water port, and provides a strategic buffer against invasion by sea. The Crimean War of 1853-56 was a humiliating defeat for the nascent Russian empire, and is one that Russians never again want to suffer. When Khrushchev gave the Crimea to Ukraine in the 1950s, it was widely unpopular for that reason.
Let's take the official numbers. Sorry for links in Ukrainian and Russian.
GDP of Crimea in 2011 was $2,452 per capita or $5.88 billion.
Also, The Crimean tourism industry generates over 50% of the Crimean GDP, evidencing the significance of this sector for the republic. Obviously, this sector of economy has been completely eliminated after the invasion.
After anschluss, director of an official Russian "Institute of Strategic Analysis" suggests the following amounts of subsidies:
- Annually 250 billion RUR or, at today's rate of 35.0343 RUR/USD, is roughly $7.14 billion;
- Kerch Strait Bridge, single time 100 billion RUR or $2.85 billion;
There are other losses Russian economy suffers due to invasion:
According to Centrobank of Russia, net capital outflow ranged just during Q1/2014 $50.6 billion;
The Telegraph: ECB: capital flight from Russia has hit $220bn
The (optimistic) estimate of Ministry of Finances of Russia predicts annual net capital outflow at $70 to 80 billion;
- Direct effect of sanctions is still counting, since international organizations keep finding and freezing assets of personals and companies involved in Russian war against Ukraine.
- Keeping army active (not in barracks) and mobilized also has costs. I don't have numbers however.