Larisa Vasilyeva says the Crimean invasion has killed her brother.
But Igor Vasilyev did not die during the Black Sea offset of 2014 from Ukraine.
At the age of 67, he was also too old to fight for the Russian authorities living in southeastern Ukraine who were so encouraged by their “return” to Crimea that they went to war with the central government.
For many years, Vasilyev struggled with heart problems.
Before donating billions of dollars to restore infrastructure in the Crimea and “repair” medical aid by cutting costs, his home district outside the Urals Mountains in Chelyabinsk had four ambulances, and he always assisted him.
But on November 13, 2015, the only remaining ambulance was delayed, his sister said.
“It arrived … it was three and a half hours later. To issue a death certificate,” said Vasilyeva, 71, who declined to give the name of his village.
The annexation of Crimea prompted President Vladimir Putin to approve the 88% increase.
The sandy beaches of the Black Sea peninsula, cypress plantations, and wine make others look like a holiday paradise, with much of Russia facing the Arctic and Northern Pacific.
But if one looks at Crimea seven years after being connected through economic analytics, the island that has no borders with Russia looks different.
It was the economic boom that brought the greatest threat – the imposition of Western sanctions, the disruption of economic growth in Russia, which had a profound effect on the lives of ordinary Russian people and created a crisis for well-known companies.
The Kremlin spent billions of dollars on construction projects in the Crimea such as $ 3.7bn, a 19-kilometer-long bridge connecting the Russian island.
It spread widely on highways and hospitals, power stations, transportation channels and aid to the Crimean population who are swelling faster than 2.5 million.
Western sanctions imposed on Moscow after its capture have devastated Russia’s 100 billion corporations, or about 4.2% of Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to a study by Daniel Ahn and Rodney Ludema, former economists at the US State Department.
Putin’s efforts to protect these institutions, many of which are controlled by former allies and neighbors, add to the loss of 8% of GDP, the study said in November in the European Economic Review.
“Eighty percent is not all that they sneeze. It’s a huge number, “Ahn told reporters in December.
Some researchers, however, dispute the figure.
“The direct damage is minimal,” Ukrainian researcher Aleksey Kushch told Al Jazeera. He further added that the sanctions resulted in the dissolution of only one portion of Russia’s GDP.
However, the agreement between Russia and Ukraine reached a peak of $ 50bn in 2011, and the annual losses are $ 20bn, he said.
The second most populous Soviet country with a population of 43 million, Ukraine was Russia’s largest trading partner and a source of exports, food, metal and technology.
Many Ukrainian factories and research facilities used by Russian military forces and aeronautics severed their ties overnight, costing them more money for new legs and spacecraft.
But Western sanctions on the seizure, which includes a ban on technological advances, are hampering Russia’s problem-solving companies, the expert said.
Pavel Luzin, a Russian research expert at the Jamestown Foundation, based in Washington, DC, told Al Jazeera: “It has greatly delayed the development of Russia’s space program.”
Cattle on the water
Many in Crimea contributed to the seizure of Moscow’s pledges to increase wages and pensions, build better roads, and promote tourism.
But today, prices are rising, chicks and the coercion of any kind of opposition makes them wonder why they voted to “join” Russia in the March 2014 “referendum” which was not recognized in Ukraine or around the world.
“Reduce the population, [Moscow] spend a lot of money to solve their problems, ”Nikolay Poritsky, former Crimean minister for housing and development projects in Ukraine, told Al Jazeera.
Life under Russia became increasingly difficult.
A meat seller living outside Simferopol, the Crimean administrative capital, said after the seizure, he stopped finding Ukrainian animals, and it took him months to find a reliable supplier in southern Russia.
After the first purchase, the seller tried to sell him a very cheap fifth-grade cow.
“He said, ‘You live far away and you probably won’t come back, and I have to feed my family,'” the butcher, whose name has not been released, told Al Jazeera.
He now opens his own shop once a week to sell chickens – because the demand is so low.
There is another coming catastrophe that awaits them in the Crimea, at home.
Crimea is well-known for its southern coastline, tropical climate, fine card decks with lush hotels, tourist attractions, and ancient sites for communist leaders and Russian monarchs.
Most of the island, however, is arid and mountainous.
The Soviet-occupied North Crimean Canal supplied 85% of the water from the mighty Dnieper River and facilitated irrigation and population growth.
Ukraine closed the channel in 2014, almost extinguished agriculture in the Crimea is forcing de-facto officials to distribute water to cities.
Today, Simferopol, the second-largest city on the Crimea Peninsula, receives water three hours a day for weeks and five hours a weekend. The occupants of the houses rush to bathe.
Water pumped from dripping ditches and contaminated wells is sometimes contaminated.
“I took a shower once, and the water was a kind of brandy,” Edem Kurtveliyev, a doctor living in a nine-room house south of Simferopol, told Al Jazeera.
De-facto officials have announced millions of water-repellent projects, but agree that the only solution to the water crisis is to build affordable salts.
“Desalination is the only way out,” Russian diplomat Sergey Aksyonov told RIA Novosti in December.
Four months later, he compared Ukraine’s refusal to reopen the canal for “terrorist attacks” and “killings”.