Is Cyprus Abandoning Russia?



Cyprus President  Anastasiades’ televised news conference recently confirmed the notion that there never was a viable strategic plan to solve the Cyprus problem. It has been nothing but a political charade.

After years of talks between the two ethnic communities on the divided island, Anastasiades has finally admitted that the UN-partitioning plan, including a Bi-Zonal, Bi-Communal Federation (BBF) has failed to bring about the desired result.

The President introduced his “wise” new plan and shocked everyone with another one of his infamous U-turns. Influenced by outsiders and the inner core of his political party, he has abandoned the concept of a BBF calling for a strong central government. In reality, he is calling for a weak central government with two equal component states – in other words, keeping the island divided into two separate states based on religion and ethnicity!

This sudden change of direction certainly did not appear out of the blue but was secretly brewing inside the clandestine cauldrons of power. And Cypriots were the last to know.

The revelation has opened up a can of worms politically and every opposition party on the island has condemned the decision. The nationalist ELAM party went as far as calling for the crossings to be closed until there is a resolution of the Cyprus issue.

Instead, the government has welcomed the opening of two new crossings, with promises of more to come.

With the prospect of a weak central government, Cyprus is now entering into uncharted territories with little hope for a viable solution; it is anyone’s guess what will come out of this new initiative.

In political terms the damage has already been done. The mere fact that the President has publicly announced his willingness to negotiate for a weak central government plunges Cyprus into new political crisis.

People are wondering what prompted the president’s latest U-turn, and why now? Why has  the government promised to accept such a change in policy and go along with this new political charade? No one is talking, and the clock is ticking!

No matter who is behind this new political entrapment, it is the people who shall decide the fate of Cyprus and not the President or the politicians. That is, unless there is a hidden agenda lurking to deprive Cypriots of a referendum, as has been promised to them!

Such a possibility cannot be ignored.

The present government seems determined to transform EU-Cyprus into a new state by developing stronger ties with the western powers. Public statements reveal there are plans under consideration to link Cyprus with the anticipated EU Army and to start up a weapons industry on the island.

Moreover, there seems to be an eagerness for Cyprus to join the NATO alliance, allying Cyprus with US policy and contemplating the building of EU/US/NATO military bases within the boundaries of Cyprus’ new state.

In addition, there are rumors that there is an agreement to allow the IMF/Troika as official bankers to handle Cyprus’ income from fossil fuels.

However, before the last piece of the political jigsaw puzzle can be put into place there remains an obstacle to overcome — the nation of Russia. Cyprus has been convinced to clip the wings of Russian influence on the island, with the government announcing publicly that hundreds of Russian bank accounts are to be closed because of “money laundering”.

This initiative could be considered as a tactical move to clear the playing field and accelerate EU/US/NATO military involvement in Cyprus by establishing a permanent base in the region. The West’s hunger for energy and geopolitical power makes the discovery of gas in Cyprus’ Exclusive Sea Protection Zone even more important strategically.

Recognizing that a political collusion in Cyprus is in progress, the Russian foreign ministry retaliated by announcing that it would protect its geopolitical interests in the Eastern Mediterranean when necessary. Russian spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has warned that Russia will not remain idle and tolerate the militarization of the region by using EU-Cyprus as a Western military base.

The fact that western oil conglomerates such as Total E&P, Eni Kogas, Noble Energy and Exxon Mobile are currently drilling for gas inside the Cyprus EEZ makes the case of ousting Russia even more convincing. It is not coincidental that exploration licenses were not awarded to Russian companies!

The attempt to reduce Russian influence in Cyprus is quite obvious. New NATO or EU military bases there would open up the floodgates for a permanent western power stronghold on the island, and Cyprus’ energy colonization and exploitation would then be complete.

Under the present political situation, Russia could possibly be compelled to develop closer ties with Turkey. If that happens, it could be political suicide for the Republic of Cyprus. Yet the Anastasiades government has chosen to disregard Russian loyalty.

Obviously the decision to backstab Russia would spark an exodus of Russian investors and possibly initiate an economic nosedive. As a nation of small shopkeepers that relies on exports, hospitality services, banking services and tourism, the government’s unsavory decision could have terrible repercussions if Russia decides to retaliate with sanctions against Cyprus.

The fiasco of closing Russian bank accounts would surely force companies to abandon the island, never to return.

All things considered, it seems a decision has again been made to use the banking system to accomplish political objectives. Cyprus first did this in March of 2013, when it closed all the banks on the island. For an entire week the government raided people’s bank accounts (EU-Troika’s Bail-in directive) and stole depositors’ money to save its corrupt banking system.

It’s not surprising that a similar tactic has been chosen now to banish Russian influence in Cyprus.

As a tiny minnow submerged in a political pond full of piranhas, Cyprus is now floating in uncharted waters, and nobody can foretell its final destination.

*Andreas C Chrysafis is a UK published author of five books and over 400 press articles. He is an advocate of Democracy, Transparency, Equality and Human Rights.