File - The GUM department store in Moscow, Jan. 4, 2009. (Wikipedia/Doomych)
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Russia's economy is showing signs of a crisis, the government in Moscow said as the U.S. and the European Union announced sanctions over its support for the Crimea region breaking away from Ukraine.Even before the worst standoff against the West since the Cold War, Russia's economy was facing the weakest growth since a 2009 recession, as consumer demand failed to make up for sagging investment.The Ukrainian crisis is putting a strain on Russia's $2 trillion economy, which grew 1.3 percent in 2013 after expanding 3.4 percent the previous year. Russia should sign a treaty accepting Crimea's accession as one of its regions, according to an order signed by Putin and published on a government website Tuesday. He is scheduled to address lawmakers and regional leaders today in Moscow on Crimea, which voted on March 16 to join Russia.The direct cost of annexing Crimea will be at least $3 billion for the Russian budget, according to Vladimir Osakovskiy, chief economist for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States at Bank of America Corp. in Moscow.Russia already plans to spend at least 50 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) to build a bridge across the strait of Kerch, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told reporters March 5 .One way of helping accelerate growth would be to ease the costs of companies, Belyakov said Monday.
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