Crimea, Russia's Annexed Territory, Wants to Create "New Beverly Hills"

Crimea - H 2015

The region's head promises to welcome showbiz and sports stars to create residences there.

Sergey Aksyonov, head of Crimea, the region annexed by Russia from Ukraine, has encouraged Western celebrities to obtain residence in the territory, promising to create "the new Beverly Hills" in an open letter.

"If honored stars wish to settle in Crimea they are absolutely welcome," reads the letter, written in Russian and English and reprinted by the Russian daily Izvestia. "If they decide to buy any realty here, to domicile, or to come on vacations, they won't face any administrative or other barriers."

The letter also promises "assistance" in finding suitable places for residence.

"We shall encourage the new Beverly Hills to uprise in Crimea eventually," concludes the letter.

The document also mentioned French actor Samy Naceri, Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst and boxer Roy Jones Jr. as foreign celebrities who recently expressed interest in a Russian citizenship or residence in the country.

Jones Jr. already received a Russian citizenship by a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin and published on the Kremlin's website this past Sunday.

The athlete was quoted by Russian news agency R-Sport as saying that he plans to learn the Russian language, open boxing schools in Russia and develop his rap career.

Naceri, who is currently filming in the Russian movie Rock & Road, recently told the Russian TV network Zvezda that he "would be glad" to obtain a Russian citizenship.

Durst, who visited Russia two weeks ago, told the radio station Rock FM that he would like to obtain a Russian passport and buy a house in Russia.

The Black Sea peninsular region of Crimea was annexed by Russia last year following the Maidan revolution in Kiev, which toppled Ukraine's then-president Victor Yanukovych.