Sanctions on Russia will only add to Cyprus’ problems

Sanctions Against Russia – Vanishing CyprusThe situation in the Ukraine is a classic example of how political double standards are applied in the name of socio-economic dominance. All sorts of political rhetoric and pretexts for initiating a new cold war have surfaced the world over. Worse, gung-ho NATO is playing war games against the “Russian invasion of Ukraine”. In a show of military strength, war maneuvers are underway in the Black Sea in preparation and anticipation of such madness.

Full of ambiguities, the skeletons of the past, reeking of mistrust, have risen from the dead to destabilize world order through cloak-and-dagger political point-scoring. Just like in Syria and Iraq, Ukraine has become the next victim of economic colonialism and nation-breakup.

The name of the game is energy, making the Black Sea an important region to control on the geopolitical power grid, and also making it something of a tinderbox. Transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) through the Black Sea and the Bosporus Straits also makes Turkey a central player. LNG is becoming one of the most important energy supplies for the power-hungry European electricity grids and controlling the Black Sea route offers Turkey greater leverage than any other player in Europe. Western powers, including the EU, are looking to keep Ankara onside at seemingly any cost.

The crisis in the Crimean Peninsula is no mere accident in the making, rather it’s a strategic geopolitical power grab. For the first time ever, the paper tigers of the European Union have put some skin in the game, perhaps finally revealing their true ambition to become major player on the world stage, of the order of the USA and Russia.

The present crisis can be attributed directly to the European Union’s meddling in Ukrainian affairs and retaliation to Kiev’s decision to turn its back on the EU. Even Dr. Kissinger accused the EU in the Washington Post last week of being partly responsible for the present crisis.

Ukraine is now divided into two main camps: pro-Russia or pro-EU. Depending on which side of the fence one sits, the real truth is hidden somewhere between the two. Nevertheless, an overwhelming 97%  of the Crimean people have voted for union with Russia. Western leaders, on the other hand, are fuming and claim that the referendum was an illegal act, threatening immediate sanctions against the Kremlin.

However, referenda cannot be dismissed on a whim. They form the backbone of a democratic society and serve as a people’s veto applied against ill-conceived government policies; governments do not have the privilege or the mandate to pick and choose referendum results as they wish and where it suits them best. The “saintly” attitude of EU and G-7 refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the referendum is a prime example of double standards applied when peoples’ decisions are not in their favour.

Constitutionally, Crimea has always been an autonomous parliamentary republic, which in fact makes it a separate legal entity within Ukraine. If powerful nations start to ignore the referendum results of the people, then one enters into a dangerous realm of ‘elected’ pseudo-democratic systems where might is right and ultimately legitimizes dictatorial rule.

No shadow of doubt remains that the EU and Washington are eager to slap sanctions against Russia, whether they take the form of travel bans, trade measures and/or freezing the assets of  individuals and firms accused by Brussels of violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity. When those measures are implemented, they will become EU foreign policy directives binding all member-states. But rest assured, Russia will retaliate with all its power against those who conspire against her interests.

Cyprus will soon be faced with yet another dilemma; the implementation of EU sanctions against Russia and Crimea. When that materializes, it will certainly damage Nicosia’s friendly relations with Russia; a nation that has long been a strong supporter of Cyprus with practical deeds and not mere rhetoric.

Unfortunately, the incumbent europhile Anastasiades government misguidedly believes that Troika and the EU’s bureaucratic institutions are patron saints and can do nothing wrong. It is most probable that Cyprus will have no other choice but to apply EU sanctions against Russia, which could have catastrophic for the island economically and politically on the world stage as its crawl towards reunification

The consequences of economic tit-for-tat spite will soon start to unfold, and their tangible repercussions will be immeasurable: tourism from Russia will likely take a nose-dive; the fragile banking sector will crumble further still as Russian capital moves elsewhere and inward investment will slow from today’s trickle to nothing. The consequences of such insanity will push Cyprus into a deeper recession and further down the road to economic ruin.

Ultimately, Cyprus will become reliant on additional poisoned Troika loans and the spiralling web of crippling loan-dependency will force the country into a straightjacket. That’s when the Troika lenders will move in for the kill, demanding shares or rights of the nation’s natural gas (LNG) as collateral and security under the signed terms of the Mnimonio Agreement. As is so often the case, the discovery of natural resources, in this case gas, may turn into a nightmare unless decisive measures are taken to prevent that from happening.

One of those measures for Cyprus is to take control and determine its own destiny by refusing to play a part in any sanctions imposed against Russia. It can also consider getting out of the eurozone or the euro currency before the country completely sinks into that black hole. It could remain as a trading partner of the EU but must shy away from deeper political integration.

As it stands, Cyprus finds itself in a quandary, yet Mr. Kasoulides, the foreign minister, a staunch and devout europhile (just like President Anastasiades) stated that: “Cyprus upholds certain principles which may have to do with illegal referenda or the occupation of the territory of one country by another” – a broad statement indeed, and that’s precisely where the problem lies; how will Nicosia interpret the result of the Crimean referendum?

Meanwhile, negotiations on the 40-year-old Cyprus problem don’t look so promising, given a gulf still separates the two sides. Turkey is not prepared to let go of its rusting trophy and because of that, a new development may soon emerge to alter the entire political scene for good.

Encouraged by Ankara, the Turkish Cypriot leadership – with or without a Cyprus solution – may decide in the future to hold a referendum to either: (a) break away from the Republic (b) unilaterally declare a new state or (c) unite the breakaway sector with mainland Turkey as Crimea did. That possibility is more real than imagined; threats of this kind have been heard many times before.

Will the EU and Western powers, then, impose Turkey to the same sanctions and sabre-rattling as they seek to apply against Russia, or would they simply accept the result of such a referendum and welcome the new breakaway Turkish Cypriot state? All this remains to be seen, but one can be sure that when the time comes, double standards will play a pivotal role.

Time is of the essence. Under the present crisis the country desperately needs a leadership blessed with statesmanship that can not only say “no” but can also make revolutionary changes and wise decisions; decisions that place national interest well above petty party-political careers, dogmatism and ‘kommatokratia‘ (politicocracy). For Cyprus, that’s a tall order indeed…!


  1. This is a very well written article that shows all angles in a more objective fashion rather than just pump out US propaganda. The short of it is, Greece should not take a US position on Russian invasion.

    a. Russia not in the entirely wrong on this issue. Ukrainian ultra nationalist thugs triggered this situation by violently overthrowing a pro-Russian democratically elected government.

    b. We should not threats from our alleged “allies” bully us into carte blanche supporting them. Many of our alleged “allies” have clearly chosen to support Skopian irredentism and Turkish violation of our terrority by looking the other way rather than condemning them.

    Ergo that claim that NATO is “defending” us is fantasy. Not only is it not defending us, but by staying silent on FYROM and Turkey’s expansionist behavior towards us — NATO is effectively hostile towards us. Western media constantly demonizes us. That’s reality.

    Whats the point of being part of an alleged security organization that colludes with foreign extremists trying to exterminate us? If our politicians have any courage, they would use this as an opportunity to show support for Russia and snub NATO for their behaviror towards us. Russia is feeling demonized by west and will likely respond amicably in return.

    However we should not go in with blind idealism. (as Russia also pretends not to notice the Skopians too) Our position now should be a neutral thats willing to play with all sides for as long as any of those sides collude with people trying to exterminate Greeks.