Russia aims to build a $15 billion constellation of five ski resorts in its mainly Muslim North Caucasus region.
The five resorts are dotted across the same mountain range where the 2014 Winter Olympics will be staged.
Regional leaders and the Ministry for Economic Development signed a declaration of intent on the planned developments -- dubbed "Altitude 5,642" after the height in metres of Europe's highest peak, Mount Elbrus in the North Caucasus -- at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
"Up to now there has been no idea that could be unifying ... and bring jobs and investment to the North Caucasus," President Dmitry Medvedev said. "This is a very good chance to improve things...I hope we will meet soon at one of these ski resorts."
Dagestan will be included in the scheme. The other resorts are to be located in the Muslim-dominated Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria provinces and majority-Christian Adygea and North Ossetia.
Russian officials are hoping to raise half of the project's 451 billion roubles ($14.46 billion) from banks including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Citi, with the balance coming from private investors, state-run RIA news agency said.
It added the complex will be built over the next 10 years.
ReutersLast Mod: 19 Haziran 2010, 12:08