Is Cyprus abandoning Russia?

By Andreas C Chrysafis *
December 6,  2018

President Anastasiades televised news conference recently confirmed the notion that there never existed a viable strategic plan to solve the Cyprus problem but a political charade of sorts! After years of talks between the two ethnic communities, Mr Anastasiades has finally admitted that the UNpartitioning plan of a Bi-Zonal, Bi-Communal Federation (BBF) negotiations have failed to bring about the desired result!

The President then went on to introduce 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 agreed to abandon the concept of a BBF calling for a strong central government, for a weak central government with two equal component states – in other words divide the island 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 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 a political solution is agreed to resolve 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 unchartered territories with little hope for a viable solution; it’s 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 a weak central government plunges Cyprus into new political dimensions.

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Consequently, people are wondering what prompted the President’s latest U-turn and why now? What was the government promised to accept such a change in policy and go along with this new political charade? No one is talking but the clock it’s ticking!

But 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 – not unless there is a hidden agenda lurking to deprive Cypriots of a referendum as promised to them!

Such a sly possibility cannot be ignored!

The present government seems determined dogmatically to transform EU-Cyprus into a new stateentity by developing stronger ties with the western powers. Public statements reveal there are plans under consideration to link Cyprus with the anticipated EU Army; the start of a weapons industry on the island; an eagerness for Cyprus to join the NATO alliance; agreement to allow IMF/Troika as official bankers to handle the gas proceeds; allying Cyprus with US policy but also the consideration of EU/US/NATO military bases within the boundaries of Cyprus’ new state-entity.

However, before the last piece of the political jigsaw puzzle can be put into place there remains an obstacle to overcome and that’s Russia! Cyprus has been convinced to clip the wings of Russian influence on the island and the government did not hesitate and publicly announced that hundreds of Russian bank accounts are to be closed for “money laundering”.

This preordained initiative could be considered as the start of 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. Hungry for energy and geopolitical aspirations, the discovery of gas in the Exclusive Sea Protection Zone of Cyprus makes western ambitions for the island even more desirable!

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Recognizing that a political collusion in Cyprus it’s in process, the Russian foreign ministry retaliated by announcing that it would protect its geopolitical interests in the Eastern Mediterranean when necessary. Maria Zakharova, the Russian spokeswoman has warned that Russia will not remain idle to see the militarization of the region by using EU-Cyprus as its main 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 Cyprus EEZ makes the case of ousting Russia even more convincing. It is by no coincidence that exploration licenses were not awarded to Russian companies!

The attempt on reducing Russia’s influence in Cyprus its quite obvious; it would open up the floodgates for a permanent western power stronghold on the island! Energy colonization and exploitation would then be complete!

Under the present political rift, Russia could possibly be compelled to develop closer ties with Turkey and if that happens, it would pose a political suicide for the Republic. Yet, the Anastasiades government has chosen to disregard Russian loyalty.

Obviously the decision of backstabbing a friend would spark an exodus of Russian investors and possibly initiate a nosedive in the economy. A nation of small shopkeepers that relies on exports, hospitality services, banking services and tourism the government’s unsavoury decision could get worse if Russia decides to retaliate with sanctions against the Republic.

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

All considered a decision has been made to use the banking system to accomplish political objectives! In March 2013 the government did exactly that; it shut all the banks in Cyprus and did the unthinkable! For an entire week it raided people’s bank accounts (EU-Troika’s Bail-in directive) and stole depositors money to save a corrupt banking system! It’s not surprising that a similar tactic has been chosen to banish Russian influence in Cyprus.

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As a tiny minnow submerged in a political pond full of piranhas, Cyprus is now floating in unchartered 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.